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WSH: Why $200,000 yearly per patient?

Letter by Lyle Laws, Puyallup on Oct. 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm with 40 Comments »
October 7, 2011 2:06 pm

Are we on the verge of financial self-destruction?

At a time when most senior citizens probably have to get by with an annual income of less than $40,000, we are told that is about how much it costs to incarcerate prisoners in most states. However, that amount pales compared to what it costs to house people in mental health facilities.

When I first read that we taxpayers have to come up with $560 every day ($200,004 a year) to provide for each patient at Western State Hospital (TNT, 10-3), I thought I was reading a printing error. I was absolutely dumbfounded when I learned that it was true.

If prison inmates can be provided with food, health care, legal advice, psychological counseling, exercise facilities and conjugal visits for $40,000 a year, why are we paying $200,000 plus a year for every person at Western State?

Leave a comment Comments → 40
  1. It’s a hospital, dude, not a prison. Ever been in a hospital? The same care provided annually at WSH would cost at least $350,000 in any private hospital. Hospital care is, was, and always wii be more expensive than jail or prison. It’s the nature of the beast.

  2. Lyle, it’s a hospital treating 100% sick people.

    A prison on the other hand, has far more healthy people than sick ones using expensive medical treatment. So it’s a numbers thing.

    For example, if you have 999 people costing $40.000 per person and one person costing $200,000. What’s the average cost per person? Answer: $40,160 per person.

  3. puyallupmutt says:

    Its double that at their satellite facility at Rainier School in Buckley.

    Simply a jobs program for unskilled underemployed union members.

    Gregoire thought about closing it, but the unions went nuts. That is a telling sign.

    Close Rainier School and save the taxpayers many millons.

  4. Patients would not be in Western State if they were not a danger to themselves or a danger to others. Therefore you have the cost of a highly secure facility coupled with intensive treatment by highly specialized staff.

    A regular (non mental health) hospital stay averages out to about $2700 per day in Washington State, so compared to an annualized $985,500 or so, its a bargain.

  5. tree_guy says:

    Lyle, I agree with you. It’s time to weigh the benefit of these services against their cost. In a perfect world we could lavish every service possible on these poor individuals. But we don’t live in a perfect world. Maybe it’s OK to just house some of the people and discontinue with the treatments.

  6. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Unions are at the root of the cost cancer in this country. Privatize is the answer.

    Unions have us by the throat because of their donations to democrats that come from forced payments of dues from state workers.

    End the unions is the only answer to the cost of state services problem.

    It’s sure not raising more taxes.

  7. Lyle and taxedenoughintacoma – ever been or seen a private hospital, you know how much it costs per patient per day? Whats that you don’t know, thought not. You can add that to list of things you don’t know. Just maybe if you did little research before you wrote you won’t look so foolish.

  8. beerBoy says:

    Unions are at the root of the cost cancer in this country.

    Yah sure, ya betcha!

    Those Unions are the reasons for the Banks giving out million dollar bonuses to the folks who speculated on loans they knew were bad! The Unions are the reason why, even after being bailed out and making huge profits, the Banks are being really tight with credit! The Unions are the reason why Doctors and Hospitals charge so much! The Unions are the reason why Insurance companies works so hard to deny benefits!

  9. steilacoomtaxpayer says:

    It is a “hospital” where the average length of stay is over a year. It is a prison.

  10. KARDNOS says:

    The ignorance on this thread is fascinating…..

  11. klthompson says:


    Economic reality. Banks do not profit from sitting on piles of money. If they don’t make loans they will eventually go out of business. The problem is the regulatory mess made by economic illiterates in Washington DC. Small business owners have no reason to expand when they can’t trust their government to make economic sense. As small business goes so goes the nation. Small businesses are not borrowing because of uncertainly. Can anyone blame them?

  12. Since when does Washington DC run Wall Street Banks?????

    I speak to business people on a daily basis who will attest that banks are not lending.

    One of them handles mortgages for my credit union…..but what’s he know???

  13. the problem is the regulatory mess made by economic illiterates in Washington DC.

    I’m assuming you mean the removal of regulations enacted after the Great Depression to prevent the Banks from speculating on bad loans and not holding enough capital in reserve which – surprise, surprise – led to the Great Recession.

  14. Uh, the guvment provided the gun, the banks loaded it, and the folks happily shot themselves in the head. It took all three to make this bloody mess.

  15. theglovesRoff says:

    Velmak’s analogy is spot on.

  16. perfect analogy… nice post velmak…

  17. I agree wkith Velmak. The Republicans in “guvment” have consistently removed protections that investors had, requirements to provide information available to consumers that allowed them to make informed decisions, and audits to hold financial institutions accountable.

    Bankers used hard-earned money to make unwise investments, financial traders used phoney paper as a betting scheme, and greed consumed the wealthy investors to gamble on thin air and a future that never came.

    Middle class and lower middle class buyers were never told of the dire consequences of the likely failures in the system, because there was no protection or information required to be presented, just the lure of low interest rates and cheap mortgages.

    Republicans want to dismantle and weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that was passed as part of the reforms. They have blocked hundreds of reforms recommended by bi-partisan and expert panels.

    Of the over 400 reforms in Dodd-Frank, Republicans have blocked all but about one-quarter of them from going into effect.

    Republicans even have blocked reforms to the derivatives market, one of the biggest examples of corporate and financial institution abuses. They have succumbed to their lobbyists ($50 milliion spent so far in 2011 against reforms) and are now proposing expansion of the availability of derivatives and the removal of the few restrictions that had been passed.

  18. KARDNOS says:

    :::::::::Conservative Crickets Chirping::::::::::

  19. xx98411 says:

    If you pass a law that requires hundreds of new rule then according to federal rule making procedures each new rule must have a cost-benefit analysis and each new rule must comply with existing law…

    That does take time to figure out doesn’t it. We dont’ wanna hurt consumers implementing laws that only hurt them in a way that is unforseen… sorry it’s taking so long…

  20. xx, epublicans have blocked the appointments of people who could actyually do the work, they have blocked the funding of staff and agencies that do the work to implement these ;procedures and they ahve actually blocked implementation of rules that have been developed. Your accounting does not take that into consideration. It is only a slow-go, because republicans think they will not have to make any reforms after 2012, and it will be back to an unregulated mess.

    Why do Republicans hate consumers and the middle class so much?

  21. theglovesRoff says:

    Leave it to tuddo to blame it all on the Republicans.

    :::::::::::::::::rolling my eyes and shaking my head in disgust::::::::::::
    :::::::::::::::::and remembering that is how tuddo rolls here::::::::::::::::

    There is this thing called the Truth In Lending Disclosure, a HUD form, and a Good Faith Estimate. I am pretty sure those disclosures have been around before those “evil” Republicans took control (maybe even during the Clinton years…). They sort of kind of spell out the terms of the loan. If the person obtaining the loan is too stupid to read them, or didn’t seek guidance with interpreting them, IT IS THEIR OWN DAM FAULT.

    If the Bank tells you exactly what your payment is going to be, and it is more than you make, and you still take out the loan, IT IS YOUR OWN DAM FAULT.

    Regarding Dood-Frank, there are those pesky unintended consequences. Government mandated price controls directed towards the “Banks” for certain transactions. When the “Banks” start realizing an increase in cost for doing the same business because of government price controls, they will look elsewhere to make up the difference. Hence the new debit card fee to be imposed by BOA.

    Government action resulted in more cost to the consumer, and no reduction in the “Banks” bottom line. So which side is the government actually on?

  22. klthompson says:

    Before making my post I should have remembered the Winston Churchill quote. “I shall not indulge in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.”

  23. theglovesRoff says:

    :::::::::”Progressive” Crickets Chirping::::::::::

  24. xx98411 says:

    picking one item from the Dodd-Frank thingy… the price control on debit cards from @ .44cents to @ .21cents per transaction.

    It is a 50% reduction in a revenue stream for a business whose service is to facilitate the flow of cash through a financial transaction, hence the fee for the service.

    Though a reduction in the cost of the transaction for the retail outlet, their is no legal obligation for the retail facility to pass along that recuction. The consumer will probably not benefit from the bank fee reduction.

    With this reduction in revenue would it not be fiscally responsible for a bank to attempt to recoup that reduction elsewhere in their service portfolio?

    If they are not able to recover the significant loss of revenue, what other steps must a business take to reduce the expenses side of the ledger? Reduction is staffing… attempts to streamline operations…. attempts to automate more functions within the operation.

    At this point, using the fee as an example, I can see no benefit of one aspect of the Dodd-Frank bill.

    Do you tuddo have a specific part of the bill that you believe beneficially to the consumer and I would be curious as to your logic…


  25. Western has never been a hospital. It’s always been a prison. It’s called a hospital because family members don’t want their kinfolks that are incarcerated there called prisoners. Patients sounds more benign.

  26. KARDNOS says:

    Let’s see….the letter is about the costs of running Western State and Roff and xx turn it into an opportunity to rant about home lending and such…..

    perfectly on topic……right????

  27. KARDNOS says:

    “camas says:
    October 9, 2011 at 12:42 am
    Western has never been a hospital. It’s always been a prison. It’s called a hospital because family members don’t want their kinfolks that are incarcerated there called prisoners. Patients sounds more benign.”

    More ignorance. Not all patients at Western State are there because of a law violation.

    This is the kind of talk that keeps mental illness in the dark ages.

  28. KARDNOS says:


    According to wiki – A dam is a barrier that impounds water or underground streams

    Of course…you have to remember that Democrats probably changed wiki to make Republicans look ignorant.

  29. The basic intention of the Truth in Lending act was to inform the laypersons about lending laws. Most people that don’t know the difference between “damn” and “dam” would not have the skills to intepret todays mortgage forms. Thus the honesty and integrity of the lender comes to play. If the lender’s form is to confuse the borrower, you can probably figure that someone is up to no good.

  30. Roff is calling me a troll???????


    Roff doesn’t like when the game is turn in his/her direction. Roff loves to dish it out, but doesn’t take the same in return……::::sigh::::::giggle:::::::

  31. oops…TURNED

  32. We need to have a “Get it Pass the TNT Nanny’s Filter” Dictionary (love you TNT ;)

    dam = damn (not the dam… as in Hoover)

    butch = bitch (thanks LF for this contribution)

    butchin’ = bitching

    feces = crap

    crap = word beginning with “s” ending in “t” and say “hi” to George Carlin for me.

    shite = means the same as above… British, Irish version if you want to show your international verbal dexterity.

    fornication = fu*k

    fu*k = si (a shorter version meaning “sexual intercourse”), a usage might include “hey, xx98411, go si yourself” that seems ok but it doesnt seem to have the same umf if you use it like “this is si’d”

    see, that’s akward… fornication sounds so clinical to me “hey, xx98411, go fornicate yourself” and seems to work for “this is fornicated” but then again it seems ackward for “that is fornicated up”… again limited in its application.

    you know that word – fu*k – is a very versitial word to be able ot use as an noun, adverb and adjective… genius.

    (Hey TNT, good morning, just trying to come up with ways to spice things up in the olde discussion board here. You really didn’t leave us much Friday. Usually you have a whole new page of stuff but not this weekend and last weekend… not a whole lot there… anyway, good morning, God bless and enjoy the week. Take care, xx ;) )

  33. beerBoy says:

    butch = bitch (thanks LF for this contribution)

    I thought all those times LF called me Butch it was in reference to my joke about the Governor of Idaho, Butch “Mr Tight Jeans 1992″ Otter’s name

  34. xx98411 says:

    really??? ok, thanks for your input…

    people hijack stuff all the time if you care to hijack butch for bitch…

    I kinda like it, more of funner, no so biting, love ya butch kinda in your face insult…. kinda, sort of, whatever.

  35. Meanwhile, back at the ranch. I thought we were supposed to be discussing excessive government spending like $204, 000 yearly to house patients at Western State.

    Let’s stay on topic for a change.

  36. beerBoy says:

    Let’s stay on topic for a change.

    Good luck with that Lyle.

  37. KARDNOS says:

    lyle……if that is the topic….

    The topic is a false statement. You have provided no proof that $204K is overspending…other than comparing apples to oranges.

    Using your system….the pay for a corporate CEO is excusive because a pastor running a church may not get paid at all.

  38. KARDNOS says:

    make that “excessive”…..sorry

  39. Tuddo mis-aligns –

    “Middle class and lower middle class buyers were never told of the dire consequences of the likely failures in the system, because there was no protection or information required to be presented, just the lure of low interest rates and cheap mortgages.”

    We did not realize your assertion that Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd
    (Frank-n-Dodd) (Fannie-Freddie….financially “sound”..remember) were in fact, according to you, republicans. Nice try…

  40. larsman, if you are going to misinform, then hyou might as well repeat the old false mantra that Dodd and Frank created the rampant problems with banks overlending to people with no business getting loans. Republicans took the stopper off the genie bottle by removing the regulations that had audits and bank overseers. The efforts of Democrats were to make sure that minorities and people who ahd taken care of past bad credit were not kept from borrowing for mortgages based on prejudices and housing locations.

    Banks and financial institutions, now unfettered by those pesky regulations that kept them from betting on the come, sunk money into the housing market thinking that they could always re-sell a bad mortgage, like they had in the past. No one held a gun tot he heasd of bnankers and made them give loans to people who had no way of paying the mortgage when the rates jumped from the sub-prime to the 10X prime.

    Just more ignorance from the far-right.

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