Lawmakers blame managers for problems at Western State Hospital

SEATTLE (AP) — The chairman of a Washington state Senate accountability committee is blaming agency managers for the crisis at the state's largest psychiatric hospital.

The agency blamed the problems at Western State Hospital on their inability to hire enough staff and hospital employees blamed the Legislature for cutting funds over the years.

The hospital is under threat of losing funding by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services after several inspections found numerous safety violations. Now that the Legislature is back in session and more state funds have been requested, lawmakers are holding hearings.

During a Wednesday briefing, Committee Chairman Sen. Mark Miloscia blamed the agency for failing to recognize and address the hospital's many problems.

After an agency official said they don't have a quality assurance team, Miloscia said state law has required such a team since 2005.