Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less



MENTAL HEALTH: More treatment needed

By state Supreme Court order, Gov. Jay Inslee and the Department of Social and Health Services recently responded to untreated mentally ill patients. Medicaid beds can now be allotted to halt psychiatric boarding in hospital hallways.

It is mandatory that ill patients receive care. Hopefully, we no longer stigmatize such individuals. In times past they were labeled as crazy or lunatics. They spent long years or a lifetime in asylums.

Today there is understanding of our brain structure and brain diseases, such as bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s and dementia. We have studied the brain and its chemistry. We’ve heard of serotonin, dopamine,

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SCC: When will that next shoe drop?

Re: “Pierce shouldn’t be destination No. 1 for predators” (editorial, 1-29).

Pity the poor people of Pierce County. Seems like they are getting more than their fair share of violent sex predators being released from the Special Commitment Center still located on McNeil Island four years after the state prison on it shut down.

Why is that? Could it be because the powers that be in Pierce County insist that the SCC cannot be moved off McNeil Island? Nor reasonably relocated anywhere else in Pierce County? Or, for that matter, in all of Washington state? That’s curious.

For if the

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HEALTH CARE: Hold providers accountable

I’d like to share components of House Bill 1519 in an effort to encourage public support and awareness of this legislation.

The Health Care & Wellness Committee passed House Bill 1519 in April 2013. This bill establishes accountability measures for service coordination organizations. Regional support networks, agencies on aging, Medicaid managed-care organizations and county substance abuse programs will be held accountable for how service is being provided and delivered to clients.

Individuals seeking health care should not be passed off to the next care provider without having first exhausted all possible efforts.

Under HB 1519, the Health Care Authority and the Department

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DSHS: Washington’s drowning in agency’s red ink

Re: “DSHS in red, likely to need $25 million infusion” (TNT, 9-9) and “DSHS didn’t protect baby, lawsuit says” (TNT, 9-9).

I really loved going to doubleheaders as a kid. But reading these two headlines on the same page in The News Tribune is really kind of depressing.

It’s hard to believe DSHS is in the red when it can perform nothing less than a fiscal miracle: run the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island for hundreds of sexually violent predators completely in the black, when neither Uncle Sam nor Washington’s Department of Corrections could house regular old

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ABUSE: State can do more to protect foster children

In a recent Viewpoint, Congressman Dave Reichert identified a very serious problem – the sexual exploitation of children in foster care – and then offered an inadequate solution, the equivalent of “let them eat cake.”

He suggests that we allow foster kids to sign up for basketball, travel and go on sleepovers without too much red tape. While that may be a nice idea, it does little to solve the problem of the sexual exploitation of children in foster care.

If Reichert and others are serious about protecting children, the Department of Social and Health Services must be held

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BRIDGE: Another disaster for state government

So the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River has collapsed. This event signals another expensive failure of a Washington state agency, one in a litany of failures over the past decade: Department of Corrections, DSHS, Transportation and others.

Something is wrong when so many costly failures (in millions of dollars and lives damaged or lost) keep occurring. Most recently WSDOT failed to properly design pontoons for the state Route 520 bridge. Why?

And there’s more: it’s time for Tim Eyman to go away. And time for the citizens of this state to realize that there is no free lunch.

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DRUGS: Testing should start small, with foster care applicants

Re: “Welfare recipients may face drug testing” (TNT, 2-14).

I am dismayed some of our leaders in Olympia are presenting bills to test welfare recipients for drugs. This is a complex issue both legally and financially.

Perhaps a more logical place to start drug testing would be the initial foster care applicants. DSHS foster care licensing does not test new applicants for drugs. First and foremost, foster care children deserve to be protected as much as possible. The cost of drug testing initial foster care applicants would be low. The number of foster care abuse court settlements paid out

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DSHS: That’s taxpayers’ money, not DSHS’s

Re: “DSHS to pay $11 million in abuse case” (TNT, 12-12).

It is truly sad that our state Department of Social and Health Services cannot protect our foster children. Maybe we will get a governor someday who can ensure that it does. However, I have another point to make, and it’s about the reporting.

Every media outlet talks about or prints that the federal, state, county, etc., government must pay out X dollars because of some failure of a government entity to effectively do its job. The point that should be made is that the money belongs to the

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