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Feds threaten to cut funding to psychiatric hospital 3 times

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Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Wash.

SEATTLE (AP) — Federal regulators have threatened to cut funding to Washington state’s largest psychiatric hospital three times this year because of dangerous conditions.

State officials say Western State Hospital needs more money and staff to make the facility safe.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent 90-day termination notices to the hospital in January, March and September. Violations ranged from failing to supervise violent patients to broken fire alarms and smoke detectors.

David Carlson with Disability Rights Washington says the series of threats over a short period of time reflects the serious problem the state’s mental health division is facing.

State officials say patient safety is a priority, but they need more than the $9.4 million added to the latest budget and are asking for supplemental funding to add staff.

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