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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Western State Hospital Strikes Deal With Feds To Suspend Termination Order, Maintain Funding

Phil Thomas
/ -
File photo of Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Washington.

The state of Washington has struck a deal with the feds to keep Western State Hospital open and funded. The Department of Social and Health Services announced late Thursday that it will negotiate a Systems Improvement Agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

This means the troubled state mental hospital will no longer face a termination order and will maintain its federal funding. Western State has been under scrutiny for serious repeat violations that have put staff and safety at risk.

Earlier this month, two patients considered dangerous to the community escaped the facility. Governor Jay Inslee later fired the hospital’s CEO.

In a statement, DSHS says the agreement with the feds will allow for solutions rather than what it calls “Band-Aid fixes.”

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."