Lakewood City Manager Andrew Neiditiz said Monday that the proposed downsizing of Western State Hospital would be a “terrible thing in this economy for the city.”
Neiditz and Jess Jamieson, the hospital’s chief executive, talked by phone last week following news that up to 150 patients could be released from the hospital.
“I felt assured that he was not putting of the safety of the community at risk,” he said.
Releasing patients from Western State Hospital is among the proposals the state Department of Social and Health Services has forwarded in response to Gov. Chris Gregoire’s call for state agencies to reduce their budgets by up to 10 percent.
The first tier of cuts would close two wards at the hospital with about 60 patients, mainly elderly people with dementia. Neiditz said Jamieson told him whose patients would be released back to their “community of origin”
The second tier would shutter three more wards, housing about 90 patients. Neiditz said it hasn’t yet been determined how those patients would be released.
The closure of all five wards would result in the loss of 220 jobs at the hospital, one of Lakewood’s largest employers.
Neiditz said the city would continue to monitor the discussions.