May 20, 2011

Bill to eliminate a forensics intake ward at Western State Hospital gets no support

UPDATE: The committee adjourned Friday afternoon without acting on the bill. 

No one testifying at the House Ways and Means Committee hearing supported SSB 5114, the bill shifting forensics intake duties to the counties and close a forensics intake unit at Western State Hospital.
Larry Thompson, a Local 793 member who works in the Western State Hospital forensics unit, led the charge against the bill.

“It would continue to put the public at (risk),” he said. “We have concerns over the closure of a forensics ward. A competent, quality, evaluation is just not done by a licensed Ph.D. That Ph.D. gets his or her information also from a social worker, the nurses, the staff on the ward that deal with this patient on a 24/7 basis during the evaluation process. That would be missing.”

Call your two House members at 1-800-562-6000 and urge them to oppose SSB 5114. Don’t shift the responsibility and costs of forensics evaluation to the counties.

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