Western State Hospital failed to report possible patient abuse, DSHS says

SEATTLE -- Washington state's largest psychiatric hospital failed to report an allegation of patient abuse by a former nursing assistant to health officials in a timely manner.

That's according to Kathy Spears, spokeswoman for the Department of Social and Health Services, which runs Western State Hospital.

The Associated Press reported last week that the hospital was investigating reports that a nursing assistant had inappropriate photos of a psychiatric patient on his personal phone.

The alleged discovery was made on Oct. 3, but the hospital didn't report the incident to police until Oct. 11 and didn't tell the Department of Health until Oct. 24.

The allegations sparked an investigation by the police, health officials and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Hospital CEO Cheryl Strange sent a note to staff Friday saying health officials will cite the hospital for "failing to report an allegation of patient abuse in a timely manner."