October 28, 2011

WFSE/AFSCME-led health care coalition declines re-negotiations

The Federation-led State Employee Health Care Coalition late yesterday (Oct. 27) told the governor’s office they are not interested in the invitation to re-open negotiations on your health insurance contract article.

In the response, the coalition said state employees and the people they serve have given enough in pay cuts, higher health costs and program cuts.

“Enough is enough,” the coalition said in its letter to state Budget Director Marty Brown. “It is time for other organizations who benefit from the state budget to embrace a fair share of concessions as well. All organizations should share equally in this sacrifice.

“We, therefore, respectfully decline your offer to re-open our 2011-2013 Health Care Agreement.”

The Federation has gone on record saying the governor should convene a meeting of corporations and ask them to take a 3 percent cut in their corporate tax breaks – because state employees have taken a 3 percent pay cut while billions in taxes go unpaid through corporate tax breaks.

Federation Executive Director Greg Devereux told the WashingtonStateWire.com on Wednesday:

“‘State employees have given as much or more than anyone else in our state, and they are tired of this administration and the Legislature feeling like there are an endless amount of takeaways,’ he said. ‘All [the governor] has to do is look out the window and see Occupy Olympia, Occupy Seattle, Occupy Spokane. People are fed up.’

“Devereux said it makes more sense for the Legislature to order a three percent cut in all corporate tax breaks. ‘I think if we do that the $2 billion deficit goes away. Let’s just have a 3 percent across the board cut on all tax breaks.

“’This to us is the path of least resistance. She needs to stand up and say enough is enough. We thought she had said that, actually.’”

CALL TO ACTION: Tell legislators to cut tax breaks and raise revenue. 

October 27, 2011

All-cuts budget options announced; urge legislators to cut tax breaks and raise revenue

Read the message at
Governor Gregoire today presented a list of budget reduction alternatives that lawmakers may use to resolve the state’s budget deficit. The list is long and the cuts basically decimate the state’s safety net.

Here’s a quick overview: elimination or reduction of supervision by Community Corrections Officers; closure of Rainier School and loss of services for the developmentally disabled; closure of two civil wards and two wards caring for patients with dementia and traumatic brain injury at our state hospitals; closure of juvenile youth camp (we believe this to be Naselle, our only remaining youth camp) and reductions to JRA caseload; elimination of medical interpreter services; elimination of basic health; increased caseloads for CA social workers; and unfortunately there’s more.

The governor stated she is not seeking further pay cuts to state workers, however the list includes a number of cuts that could considered: 10 additional furlough days; additional 1% salary reduction for one year; increase health contributions from 15-25%; and suspension of step increases for one year.

Expect the governor to release her budget proposal CORRECTION after the Nov. 17 revenue forecase, likely Thanksgiving weekend. Special Session begins Nov. 28.

CALL TO ACTION: Tell legislators to cut tax breaks and raise revenue. 

Pressed about revenue, the governor said her focus is in cuts in order to present a balanced budget. “If congress had done its job in August; if the European economy wasn’t in crisis and stabilized; and if Washingtonians were buying more,” things would be different. But we don’t have control of these things.

The governor denied she is making a case for revenue to the public. “This is what the cuts look like.” Legislative leadership from both sides of the aisle have approached her in respect to revenue, but nothing was release showing us what form the revenue would take nor the programs most likely to see the benefit of revenue.

Cuts to mental health services were identified as particularly troubling. Those who need the services may turn to crime or turn to emergency services that could result in higher costs. “They aren’t going to be fine.”

It doesn’t make sense to hand out tax breaks to big banks and special interests at the same time we’re raising tuition and putting people with disabilities and mental illness out on the streets.

It doesn’t make sense to continue corporate welfare while cutting public health and public safety.

If implemented, these cuts would cost our state thousands of jobs and set back our economic recovery. These cuts do more to hurt the middle class and widen the gap between the wealthiest and the rest of us. Legislators need to take a vote to end tax breaks and raise revenue.

October 25, 2011

Governor to unveil "options" Thursday

Gov. Chris Gregoire is expected to unveil her budget options at a 10 a.m. press conference this Thursday, Oct. 27, in advance of the special legislative session coming in November, on Nov. 28.

This will be when we get a better idea of her position on the devastating “options” already floated to gut public safety and public services – from decimating Community Corrections, to closing six mental health wards, to closing Naselle Youth Camp, to ending the Basic Health Plan and eliminating our medical interpreters.

Many locals are doing regular job actions. Watch for details in your area. Stay tuned to our website at http://www.wfse.org and sign up for text, Twitter and e-mail alerts there.

We’re part of a broad-based movement that’s occupied with amping up actions against these devastating budget cuts. With billions in corporate tax breaks – which are unpaid taxes that the wealthiest 1 percent get away with every year in this state – it makes no sense to slash the public safety net again and again and again and basically wipe out the Great American Middle Class.

Even legislators, who have the power to end enough tax breaks to cover the new $2 billion deficit, are talking about the need for revenue, perhaps as a ballot measure put to voters next spring.

Said Senate Ways and Means Chair Sen. Ed Murray in today’s The Olympian: “Without it, I don’t know how I get the votes for an all-cuts budget. It’s a very difficult situation. I think even Republicans – when they see what is left to cut – are going to be stunned. I think some of them may come to believe we ought to give the voters the option to try to buy back some of those cuts.”

But it’s so bad, we believe the required two-thirds of the Legislature should step up in special session and vote to roll back enough tax loopholes to save our state and our Middle Class.

Bargaining team election ballots going out this week

Ballots for the various bargaining teams (in technical terms, the traditional state employee teams covered by the Personnel System Reform Act of 2002) go out this week. This is for the negotiations starting early next year for 2013-2015 contracts.

However, for positions where the number of nominees equaled the number of positions, those nominees have been appointed/elected by acclamation. There will be no election.

Finally, several positions got no nominees, so the Federation president will appoint. To help you sort all this out, below are three lists:


Ballots for these positions will go out this week. Because the ballots will list the candidates, we won’t list the candidates here. Those ballots will be due back to WFSE/AFSCME Headquarters by Nov. 14, 2011. Those positions with elections are:

General Government Bargaining Team:
  • Agriculture; Corrections; Ecology; Enterprise Services/Consolidated Technology Services Agency; Health; Labor and Industries; Licensing; Transportation (Westside); Veterans Affairs; Employment Security; Miscellaneous General Government agencies; Parks and Recreation; DSHS/Children’s Administration; DSHS/Community Services Division; DSHS/DD Field Services/SOLA; DSHS/DD Institutions (Westside); DSHS/Division of Child Support; DSHS/Eastern State Hospital; DSHS/Home and Community Services; DSHS/JRA Institutions, Juvenile Parole and Group Homes; and DSHS/Western State Hospital.
University of Washington Bargaining Team:
  • Harborview Medical Center – 2 At-Large Positions; UW Campuswide/Trades Bargaining Unit (2 seats); UW Campuswide/At-Large (2 seats); and University of Washington Medical Center – 2 At-Large Positions.

Candidates for the following positions were elected/appointed by acclamation because nominations equaled the number of positions available:

General Government Bargaining Team:
  1. Department of Fish & Wildlife:  Bryan Quinton
  2. Office of the Insurance Commissioner:  Wendy Conway
  3. DSHS/All Other:  Robin Windhausen [RCS]
  4. DSHS/DD Institutions/Eastside & Consolidated Support Services:  Julianne Moore
  5. DSHS/Special Commitment Center:  Eliga Sacks
Higher Education Coalition Bargaining Team:
  1. Community Colleges of Spokane:  Rick Halverson
  2. Everett Community College:  Max Phipps
  3. Green River Community College:  Todd Henderson
  4. Lower Columbia College:  Peter Hansen
  5. Lower Columbia College:  Vicki Echerd
  6. Peninsula College:  Jerry Machenheimer
  7. Seattle Community Colleges:  Rodolfo Franco
  8. Seattle Community Colleges:  Frank Deering
  9. South Puget Sound Community College:  Terry Verone
  10. South Puget Sound Community College:  Merrie Raymond-Haskey
  11. Tacoma Community College:  Angie Simpson
  12. Tacoma Community College:  Laurie Harmon
  13. Whatcom Community College:  Sharon Maupin
Eastern Washington University Bargaining Team:

1.    EWU:  Pat Terrell
2.    EWU:  David Sundstrom
3.    EWU:  Craig Walker
4.    EWU:  Quincy Burns
The Evergreen State College Bargaining Team:
  1. TESC:  Lana Brewster
  2. TESC:  Kirk Talmadge
  3. TESC:  Laura Carpenter
  4. TESC:  Lin Crowley
  5. TESC:  Steve Johnson
  6. TESC:  Rachel Burke
University of Washington Bargaining Team:
  1. Bothell Campus At-Large:  John Miller
  2. UW Campus-Wide Bargaining Unit/Custodian:  Eduardo "Ed" Vazquez & Francisca Flores
  3. UW Library Bargaining Unit:  Elisa Coghlan & James “Jake” White

Appointments will need to be made in the following positions because no nominations were received for any or all seats available:

General Government Bargaining Team:
  1. Department of Commerce:  (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
  2. Department of Early Learning:  (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
  3. Department of Natural Resources:  (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
  4. Department of Transportation/Eastside:  (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
  5. Health Care Authority:  (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
  6. Military Department:  (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
  7. Washington School for the Blind and Center for Deafness & Hearing Loss:  (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
  8. Washington State Patrol:  (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
  9. DSHS/Department of Vocational Rehabilitation:  (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
Higher Education Coalition Bargaining Team:
  1. Bellevue College:  (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
  2. Centralia Community College:  (2 Team Members Allowed) 2 Members Need to be Appointed
  3. Community Colleges of Spokane:  (3 Team Members Allowed) 1 Member by Acclamation; 2 Members Need to be Appointed
  4. Everett Community College:  (2 Team Members Allowed) 1 Member by Acclamation; 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
  5. Green River Community College:  (2 Team Members Allowed) 1 Member by Acclamation; 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
  6. Seattle Community Colleges:  (3 Team Members Allowed) 2 Members Appointed by Acclamation; 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
  7. Shoreline Community College:  (2 Team Members Allowed) 2 Members Need to be Appointed
Central Washington University Bargaining Team:
  • CWU:  (9 Team Members Allowed) 9 Members Need to be Appointed
Eastern Washington University Bargaining Team:
  • EWU:  (9 Team Members Allowed) 4 Members Appointed by Acclamation; 5 Members Needs to be Appointed
The Evergreen State College Bargaining Team:
  • TESC:  9 Team Members Allowed) 6 Members Appointed by Acclamation; 3 Members Need to be Appointed
Washington State University Bargaining Team:
  • WSU:  (9 Team Members Allowed) 9 Members Need to be Appointed
Western Washington University Bargaining Team:
  • WWU:  (9 Team Members Allowed) 9 Members Need to be Appointed
University of Washington Bargaining Team:
  • UW:  PAC Lab, Friday Harbor & Consolidated Laundry as a Coalition, At-Large (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
University of Washington Police Management Bargaining Team:
  • UWPM: The bargaining team must have at least two members. At least two members need to be appointed.

Two appointments for positions where no nominations were received have been made, both on the University of Washington Bargaining Team:
  1. UW PSO’s Bargaining Unit (HMC):  Jill Burr
  2. Tacoma Campus/At-Large:  Kim Shaw

October 20, 2011

Do-over in the works for exemptions in the new Consolidated Technology Services agency?

Legislators miffed because the administration cut the bargaining and civil service rights of about two-thirds of the new Consolidated Technology Services (CTS) agency may lead the charge to push the undo button and roll back the exemptions of more than 150 front-line information technology workers.

The push to pause the CTS job exemptions, which allow the agency to fire them at will for no just cause, was aired at Wednesday’s (Oct. 19) hearing before the House General Government Appropriations and Oversight Committee.

“It actually costs the state nothing to push pause, let some of this play out, and let you guys reconvene in January to figure out some of these finer details and how it’s coming, how it’s evolving and the shape it’s taking,” Federation Lobbyist Alia Griffing urged the committee.

Committee Chair Rep. Zack Hudgins of the 11th District agreed.

“I am surprised at the number of folks that fell under the exempt job descriptions,” Hudgins told CTS Director Mike Ricchio. “I don’t think that two-thirds of the agency was contemplated during the negotiations with representatives from both parties, both chambers.

“So I’m sure there is going to be legislation to hem that in a little bit. So I hope you have an undo button somewhere in your agency you might roll back if the Legislature finds the will to do so.”

Ricchio said the administration believes the exemptions provide needed flexibility, but their collective bargaining rights could be restored with no impact.

“Whether these folks are classified or exempt, the work is being done,” Ricchio told the committee. “That work is being done in the same way. I think it does give us flexibility in the long run.

“But at this point, it would be very easy to roll back to the classified service. And I don’t think it would hurt our customers to do so.”

The hearing came amidst growing opposition – and legislative irritation – over the law consolidating several functions and agencies into the new CTS and Department of Enterprise Services. Legislators have publicly scolded the administration for assuring them during deliberations last spring on ESSB 5931 that only about 30 high-level managers would be exempted from civil service and bargaining.

Instead, the agency proposed exempting 157 members (thanks to union bargaining, three have had their rights restored so far).

“The way the bill is being implemented and the scope of employees who are being removed from civil service in our opinion far exceeds what was contemplated by the Legislature and what was talked about during the meetings that were privy to,” Griffing told the committee.

Federation members analyzed the exemptions and concluded about 73 percent of the agency would be exempt – even greater than the conservative estimate of 66 percent, she said.

“Based on the meetings that we were privy to last year, I find it hard to believe that as you were voting on this bill that this is what you were envisioning,” Griffing said.

“I don’t believe this represents the more flexible, nimble agency that will attract and retain qualified workers. We urge you to revisit this issue next year and tighten up the broad language used in the bill, which is how they are sweeping up these additional employees.”

One of the affected members moved from the Department of Information Services to CTS and exempted is Jeff Paulsen.

He told the committee said his salary is basically locked in – there’s no real difference between his classified job and his new job title in the exempt band.

“One of the issues we heard about in the lead up to this bill was the problems with recruitment and retention,” Paulsen told the committee.

“We’ve been told through salary surveys that our compensation is roughly 25 to 30 or more percent behind the private sector. What this bill does…locks us in at the salaries that we’re at, it doesn’t give them any flexibility to grow in the future. So that will hurt recruitment and it will hurt retention. It will not help solve those problems.”

If the administration gets away with this Wisconsin-style scheme here, it will have a chilling effect throughout state government, said Steve Pointec, an IT worker in the Employment Security Department.

“People can be fired for any reason without showing just cause,” Pointec said. “This has turned IT workers into patronage workers. This has put fear into workers in all agencies. …

“Who will work for the state when they know that they could be put into the street at any time?”

Natural Resource agency members speak out at legislative hearing

The House General Government Appropriations and Oversight Committee got updates on consolidation efforts in natural resource agencies in their Oct. 19 hearing.

In the 2011 session, the administration pushed to merge Parks, Fish and Wildlife and some functions from other natural resource agencies into a new super-agency. That proposal didn’t survive, but a modified version of the bill 2SSB 5669, remains alive after having passed the Senate in May before dying in the House. As that bill stands now, it would direct Agriculture, Ecology, Fish and Wildlife and Natural Resources to consolidate certain administrative services, functions and regions. But it’s believed the governor’s overall super-agency approach may arise again.

Spokane Local 1221 Ecology member Scott Mallery, chair of the union’s Natural Resources Task Force, told the committee the Legislature should look at streamlining management first.

WMS and EMS positions make up to 2 ½ times as much as a front-line worker, “so with streamlining of that, you might be able to get more people on the ground to get the job done,” Mallery said.

So far, the consolidation plans don’t appear to help the budget bottom line that much, he said.

“We just see deck chairs being moved around and no real savings in it,” Mallery said. If discussions go forward, “make sure management is reduced and duplicate systems are eliminated,” he said.

“And always, we think our members and our employees should have a stakeholder at the table because a lot of them know what’s going on and they don’t get asked those questions.”

Another member of the union task force, Olympia Local 443 member Tim Young, an IT worker in Fish and Wildlife, said surveyed members want labor represented in any consolidation discussion to protect their rights.

But, “we think this is bad timing for anything but a study,” Young told the committee. “There have been severe staff and budget reductions at Fish and Wildlife, for example…. So this is not a good time to be talking about natural resource consolidation.”

October 17, 2011

Members needed at legislative hearing on agency consolidations Wed., Oct 19

The fight for Information Tech members in agency consolidations continues Wednesday at the state capitol.

We need as many members in AFSCME Green to show up for this Wednesday’s legislative oversight hearing on the consolidation of agencies into the new Department of Enterprise Services and the Consolidated Technology Services agency.

As you know, the IT workers especially are under the gun. Legislation has been interpreted as stripping about 175 members of their collective bargaining rights. They and the Federation are already fighting on a number of fronts, including at the bargaining table and the Public Employment Relations Commission.

But when legislators who voted for the bill said they never intended it to exempt more than about 30 high-level managers, there’s a problem that the Legislature needs to fix.

This Wednesday’s legislative hearing is an important update on how the transition has gone. A perfect opportunity for you to turn out in solidarity. We’ll have materials you can hand out to committee members.

The hearing is before the House General Government Appropriations and Oversight Committee. It will be at 3 p.m., this Wednesday, Oct. 19, in Senate Hearing Room 1 of the John A. Cherberg Building on the Capitol campus.

For DOC members:
  • The oversight committee will also get updates on consolidation of the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board within the Department of Corrections, merger of the Sentencing Guidelines Commission into the Caseload Forecast Council and discussion of potential consolidation of criminal justice programs.
For Natural Resources members:
  • The oversight committee will also review natural resources consolidation proposals from the 2011 legislative session.
Hearing details:
  • House General Government Appropriations and Oversight Committee, 3 p.m., this Wed., Oct. 19, in Senate Hearing Room 1 of the John A. Cherberg Building on the Capitol campus.
  • Link to agenda

Corrections members' mobilization continues

Department of Corrections members continue their mobilization against proposed budget cuts that would virtually wipe out post-release supervision.

This week, DOC members in Yakima and Kennewick will stage peaceful informational picketing this Thursday, Oct. 20:
  • YAKIMA, 11:30am -1pm at the corner of First Street and Yakima Avenue in Yakima. 
  • KENNEWICK, Noon at the corner of Highway 395 and Clearwater Avenue in Kennewick.
Both groups have scheduled picketing on Oct. 27 and Nov. 3, too.

Military department unit chooses WFSE/AFSCME

Washington Youth Academy workers (in non-supervisory job classes) have won a voice at work now that their choice of the Federation as their union has been certified.

The academy is a unit of the state Military Department. The unit includes 28 workers in the job classes Youth Academy residential specialists 1-4 and medical assistant.

In a cross-check tally conducted by the Public Employment Relations Commission, a majority of affected workers signed authorization cards for the Federation. The tally was Oct. 3 and the certification was issued Oct. 12.

October 11, 2011

WFSE/AFSCME sues to reinstate PERS-1 Uniform COLA

The Federation Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 11) filed suit in Thurston County Superior Court to stop the state's repeal of the uniform cost-of-living adjustment promised to those in the PERS 1 retirement system - current and future retirees.

The Legislature this year passed SHB 2021 to repeal the uniform COLA created in 1995. SHB 2021 and the repeal took effect June 30.

The Federation lawsuit says that action violates the state constitution and due process rights and is a breach of contract.

One other charge in layman's terms is: You can't promise something and then take it away.

The PERS 1 Uniform COLA is an automatic, annual COLA for PERS 1 retirees. It is paid in the first calendar year in which the recipient turns age 66 and has been retired for one year. The amount of the payment is a fixed dollar amount multiplied by the member's total years of service.

PERS 1 covers state employees hired before October 1977. That covers about 33,385 retirees already getting the COLA, 12,969 retirees not yet eligible for it and 18,524 in PERS 1 and TRS 1 (teachers) who have not yet retired.

It is believed the Washington Education Association and the Retired Public Employees Council of Washington/AFSCME will file separate lawsuits.

October 10, 2011

Convention 2011 now history

The Federation’s Convention 2011 wrapped up at 2:52 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 9) after passing several new constitutional amendments and firing up delegates to take on management and Wall Street.

The 413 delegates (and 15 alternates) from 41 locals re-elected Federation President Carol Dotlich, Vice President Sue Henricksen and Treasurer Rosemary Sterling. And they elected Judy Kuschel of Vancouver Local 313 as the union’s new secretary. Henricksen was re-elected by acclamation because she ran unopposed. The officers have two-year terms.

Delegates adopted four amendments to the Federation’s constitution, including one to make the union treasurer the chair of the Federation’s Finance Committee and one creating a new policy committee for non-state employee members, such as medical interpreters.

The convention on Sunday welcomed some of those newly organized public service and state employee members when representatives from new units at American Behavioral Health Systems, the Facilities and Operations Unit at the Washington State University Spokane Campus, and the Interpreters United, who for the first time had delegates as part of their new statewide Local 1671.

The Interpreters United Local 1671 received the Howard Jorgenson Organizing Award, and Volunteer Member Organizers who helped in that campaign were honored on the floor.

Other awards handed out over convention weekend:

• Medal of Valor Award. Tor Bjorklund and Dean Lambert of Parks Local 1466.
• Rosella Charvet Leadership Award. Rebecca Withrow, Yakima Local 1326.
• Howard Ocobock PEOPLE Award. Local 1181, Bremerton.
• Job Action of the Year Award. Local 793, Western State Hospital, Lakewood, and Local 1326, Yakima.

Delegates also adopted one resolution, to seek action to decrease patient assaults on psychiatric and forensic workers.

As the Occupy Wall Street movement sweeps the nation, some 100 delegates on Thursday joined the Occupy Spokane march, passed a resolution to support that movement and collected more than $1,000 to help organizers with logistical and supply costs.

Saturday, several hundred delegates traveled to Medical Lake for a rally in support of workers at Eastern State Hospital and Lakeland Village to protest current and future budget cuts and management inaction that threaten patient, public and worker safety. They were joined by two of the most respected national labor leaders, former AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer William Lucy and Danny Donohue, president of CSEA/AFSCME Local 1000 in New York. Lynne Dodson, secretary-treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, keynoted the rally, kicking off remarks from Eastern and Lakeland workers with testimony about safety problems. Other delegates from around the state voiced their support for the Local 782 and Local 573 fight for safety.

Other convention speakers over the weekend included AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Lee Saunders, WSLC President Jeff Johnson, Oregon AFSCME Council 75 President Ken Allen, and candidate for governor U.S. Congressman Jay Inlsee.

And the convention Friday night honored Mary Donnelly, the longtime Federation executive assistant who retired in August after 38 years with the union. As Donnelly accepted the honor, the veteran “go to” person for every convention dating to 1974 summed up the state of the union best:

“The thing that really warms my heart tonight as I look out at this audience and see so many new faces, people who are stepping up, people who are taking an active role in this union, which is what we need to keep moving forward and I wish you all the best.”

October 6, 2011

Rights of another Haborview Medical Call Center worker upheld

The Public Employment Relations Commission has upheld the rights of another worker at the Harborview Medical Call Center.

A PERC hearing examiner on Sept. 28 ruled that Local 1488 member Robin Jackson was part of the Federation-represented bargaining unit when she was terminated this past January. She was covered by the contract and its grievance procedure, PERC said.

“When the employer chose not to process the grievance filed by the union on Jackson’s behalf (over her termination without just cause), it unlawfully interfered with employee rights,” according to the decision.

Under the order, the University of Washington must honor the grievance mediation procedure in the contract. If no decision is reached at mediation by Nov. 28, the dispute will be submitted to binding arbitration, with the UW bearing all arbitration fees and costs.

The decision came on an unfair labor practice complaint filed by the union. PERC upheld the union complaint in an earlier ULP over the medical center and the UW’s attempt to strip them of their bargaining rights. The UW has appealed that order.

The UW has 20 days from the Sept. 28 ruling in the Jackson case to appeal.

October 3, 2011

Newspaper reports mental health cuts "could clog mental health crisis centers, emergency rooms and jails"

In today's editions of the Tacoma News Tribune and The Olympian, the story: Cuts muddle mental care releases

Here are excerpts:

DSHS acknowledges in its description of reductions that those cut off from treatment likely will end up being paid for by the government in other ways. They could clog mental health crisis centers, emergency rooms and jails.….

But it’s unclear whether the Western State patients under consideration would even be eligible for nursing homes, said Rich Miller, president of the Washington Health Care Association – an advocacy group for nursing and assisted-living homes.

And nursing home owners might be reluctant to mix them with their other residents and train all their employees how to deal with a very different population that would mix with the current residents.
“That’s why places like Western State were created,” Miller said, “because you’re providing a very specialized level of care.”

Click here to read the full story.