The WA State Supreme Court released a decision this morning on psychiatric boarding in hospitals that basically prohibits the state from doing this. Judge Gonzales’ summary is quite pithy.
GONZALEZ, I.-Washington State’s involuntary treatment act (ITA), chapter 71.05 RCW, authorizes counties to briefly detain those who, “as the result of a mental disorder,” present an imminent risk of harm to themselves or others, or are gravely disabled. RCW 71.05.153(1), .230. The initial brief detention is for the limited purpose of evaluation, stabilization, and treatment, and once someone is detained under the IT A, he or she is entitled to individualized treatment. RCW 71.05.153, .230, .360(2). Pierce County frequently lacks sufficient space in certified evaluation and treatment facilities for all those it involuntarily detains under the ITA. It regularly resorts to temporarily placing those it involuntarily detains in emergency rooms and acute care centers via “single bed certifications” to avoid overcrowding certified facilities. Such overcrowding-driven detentions are often described as “psychiatric boarding.” Patients psychiatrically boarded in single bed certifications generally receive only emergent care. After 10 involuntarily detained patients moved to dismiss the county’s ITA petitions, a trial judge found that psychiatric boarding is unlawful. We agree and affirm. (http://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/pdf/901104.pdf)
There are hundreds of patients in this category statewide and we are going to have to take action to resolve the situation or the courts will release the involuntary commitment petitions on these folks. In general, people in this situation need immediate treatment. Not providing treatment, but keeping them strapped down on gurneys in the hallways of hospitals has always been inhumane, now it is clearly illegal.
During the recession the state budget made significant reductions in mental health spending. We are starting to see the outcomes of this. Yet another category where we most certainly cannot take reductions in order to fund other more visible state services.
Rep. Cyrus Habib and I are riding in Obliteride August 9th and 10th to raise money for the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center and the work they do to solve the problem of cancer. We’d love your support of the cause.
You may not know this, but both Cyrus and I are cancer survivors. He has a very rare childhood cancer that cost him his eyesight when he was in elementary school. I had stage 4 non-Hodgkins Lymphoma several years ago. In my case the Hutch saved me with a stem-cell transplant. This is a treatment that was pioneered here, and Seattle is still the best place in the world if you have the cancer I had.
Without the Hutch I wouldn’t be here, and neither would thousands of other survivors. You can contribute online here.
The SR 520 program is making lots of progress this summer – with 46 pontoons now on Lake Washington and a new Eastside transit stop open for transit riders! Today we also celebrated a new construction milestone on the floating bridge—installation of the first transition span. More details below.
Transition span installation on June 27
Today crews began installing the first of four transition spans for the new SR 520 floating bridge. This first span will connect the new floating bridge with the stationary east approach, south segmental bridge near Medina. This section of the transition span is composed of five steel girders, each 190 feet long, over seven feet tall, and weighing about 45 tons.
The Eastside portion of the 520 project will reach a major milestone this summer – it’ll be mostly done by August/September. There will be punchlist work for some of the fall, but major disruptions should end. I know it’s been a bear of a project.
Over the next few weeks you’ll see some major changes in traffic flow. I am sure it will be seriously aggravating. Closing the entire corridor for a year would have been worse. Letting it sink in a storm worse still.
The attached email from the 520 project people details what you should expect over the next few weeks. It’ll be closed every weekend except June 16-18 to allow for the UW graduation.
SR 520 construction notification_ Upcoming weekend closures and construction activities.
Posted in Transportation
With the exception of education policy, there’s probably no other issue where states’ rights are paramount than when it comes to the health of its residents. Congress is currently considering a bill that would have devastating consequences to public health in Washington state if they don’t make major changes to the proposal. The federal Chemicals in Commerce Act (CICA), currently being considered by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is an attempt to update the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act. The 1976 act is in dire need of updating – something both parties agree on.
Unfortunately, the CICA not only falls well short of improving the current law, it will actually put communities at greater risk of exposure to toxic chemicals. It will impose weak chemical testing standards, create faulty cost/benefit methods, and prohibit states from adopting their own toxic chemical protections. Continue reading
It’s not just me disagreeing with the people who want to get rid of the Common Core State Standards, it’s a host of thoughtful people. My favorite so far is from David Brooks, the conservative columnist from the New York Times. (I know this is an oxymoron, but he’s more conservative than everyone else there.)
A Circus Descends on Common Core – David Brooks (New York Times)
Common Core Spawns Widespread Political Fights – Bill Barrow (AP)
The sense you get from reading these articles is that the noise is about the noise, not about the substance of the standards.
Guest: Why students need the new Common Core education standards – Katie Brown, Washington State 2014 Teacher of the Year
The Seattle Times supports it as well: Engage in new Common Core education standards.
This week I got a campaign questionnaire from a group I hadn’t heard of before about the common core standards and a few other educational issues, wanting my answers to a set of questions they posed.
The group is Washington State Against Common Core so you can probably predict the direction they would like the answers to go. In general it’s better if I don’t answer questionnaires where I categorically disagree with the entire premise of the group as it doesn’t improve world harmony. In this case I thought it would be useful to talk about this topic as it has kicked up some dust lately.
Here are the questions:
- Please state your position on Race to the Top reforms, including the Common Core Standards, student data collection, and high-stakes testing.
- Please explain your support of or opposition to charter schools as established in Washington state by I-1240.
- If elected, would you sponsor or support legislation to withdraw Washington state from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and repeal the Common Core State Standards?
Stop Confusing “Education Reform” With “Funding Reform”
The Legislature defined basic education. The Court said, Fund it.
OLYMPIA (March 28, 2014) — Unfortunately, it is once again necessary to respond to Ms. Liv Finne of the Washington Policy Center about the meaning of the Supreme Court’s McCleary v. State of Washington decision. Ms. Finne continues to say the Supreme Court has ordered the State to adopt education reforms and that the Court has not ordered the State to fund its program of education identified in ESHB 2261 and SHB 2776.
Ms. Finne is wrong. Here is the order issued by the Court in January:
…it is hereby ordered: the State shall submit, no later than April 30, 2014 a complete plan for fully implementing its program of basic education for each school year between now and the 2017-18 school year. This plan must address each of the areas of K-12 education identified in ESHB 2261, as well as the implementation plan called for by SHB 2776, and must include a phase-in schedule for fully funding each of the components of basic education.
Peter Callaghan: Education bill’s unheralded details will need attention | Peter Callaghan | The News Tribune.
Peter does a good job here exposing some of the hard work remaining in figuring out school funding details for 2015. He drills into a number of key issues:
- Local school levies being used for compensation. This is an unconstitutional shift of responsibility from the state to local taxpayers.
- Weird levy caps that treat different districts differently.
- Reliability issues with depending on local levies.
- Complexity of the salary model the state uses.
I’m not sure I agree with some of his conclusions in the article, but he’s right about the list of issues to work out.