Western State Hospital Withdrew, Without Notice, From National Accreditation

Aug 30, 2016

Washington's largest psychiatric hospital has operated without national accreditation since June.

Western State Hospital staff and job applicants were not notified.

Western State Hospital in Lakewood says it voluntarily withdrew from national accreditation in June.

At that time a letter was drafted to notify employees, but it never went out.

And up until this week, the hospital's website still said it was accredited.

Western State has been plagued with issues, including escapes by dangerous patients, inadequate treatment for people charged with crimes, and low staffing levels.

The Department of Social and Health Services oversees the hospital.

Carla Reyes at DSHS says the hospital already was in violation of Medicaid's conditions, and working to fix that.

She says that's why a check-up with national accreditors was canceled.

"Because we weren't meeting those underlying conditions of participation," Reyes says. "So it didn't make sense to us to do that survey when they couldn't deem us."

Reyes says lacking accreditation won't impact hiring practices or patient safety.

The hospital is working to improve those areas so it can comply with Medicaid rules again.

Washington state's other psychiatric hospital, Eastern State, is still nationally accredited.

Copyright 2016 KUOW