Day 21 Update…I did not make this up

Mason’s transport to his new facility had to be arranged entirely by our hospital as “the DDA does not provide transport from a hospital”. This is truly unreal. Mason was brought to us, left for 3 weeks, and the DDA won’t even arrange for transport. This meant that we had to call for ambulance transport AND pay a security guard to go with him and a taxi ride back. How did Mason get from his prior foster home to Mason County? I presume that this was arranged and paid for by the DDA and did not involve an ambulance, restraints or medication. In addition, someone affiliated with the DDA arrived today with a bunch of Mason’s clothing that had been washed, not dried, and placed in a garbage bag. The support has been horrendous. I feel like banging my head against the wall.


Day 21

After 3 weeks in the hospital Mason is finally heading to a place that can adequately meet his needs. This has been one of the strangest periods in my career. I would have never thought that an agency as large as the DDA would shift responsibility to a small critical access hospital without a plan for compensation. Now that Mason has a home, I’m going to steer the focus of this blog to this unfair practice. The DDA has a $3 billion biennial budget. It appears that the use of hospitals for temporary housing is widespread in our state. Given this, and if there is no plan to stop this practice, then funds should be allocated to compensate the hospitals for stepping up in this role. Obviously, this is the least that DDA should be doing. They need to immediately stop the practice of sending such patients to hospitals. They need to partner with the HCA and law enforcement to formulate a crisis plan appropriate to the needs of their clients. DCR’s understand that these are not cases of mental illness in the vast majority of situations and so involuntary treatment is not appropriate and “medical clearance” is then not necessary. It is also not the role of law enforcement to take people like Mason to jail. What options does this then leave? Mason was kept in a moderate sized hospital room with access to a bathroom, food and security. Surely the DDA has access to similar or better facilities within their reach? A small home could have been built for Mason and staffed with 24 hour security for the cost to our hospital. Not ideal, but certainly an option for a state agency.

I would love to hear more from folks out there who’ve had similar experiences in their own hospitals as well as those with solutions to this crisis.

Day 20 in the Hospital

Mason remains in the hospital…

Here is the link to to the KUOW Report.

Go to the second story

“Ombuds report on people with developmental disabilities”

Skip ahead about 15 seconds after the tease regarding “Home DNA tests”.

I noted that the DDA does not keep statistics regarding the housing of their clients in hospitals. I would like to use this forum as a place to begin collecting such reports. If you are aware of DDA clients in Mason’s situation please forward to me without any personal health information and I will begin to keep track.

Day 16 in the Hospital-Word is Spreading

Mason remains in the hospital…

KOMO News just published an article on their website about this situation. Read it Here.

KOMO’s Matt Markovich came out to Mason General Hospital (MGH)  today to interview myself and Dean Gushee, the Chief Medical Officer of MGH. They plan to air a segment tonight at 4:30 pm and again at 6:00 pm. If you don’t have access to a television, you can watch it Online. Please pass this on to everyone you connect with!

I was interviewed by KUOW, the Seattle NPR affiliate as well as by The Kitsap Sun and an interview is scheduled for next week with KMAS. No stories have yet been published by these outlets but I am grateful for their interest in this story and willingness to pursue further background.

I have been pondering the efforts we have made in this case compared to the response that we have received from the state. It’s amazing that one must go to these lengths to get satisfaction. I use the word “satisfaction” with only minimal hope as we approach the weekend and another holiday. I could foresee Mason being here for another week.

I have also been thinking about several analogies that could be made relative to this issue. Mason General Hospital has plenty of food, heat, water, cable, telephone service. Would anyone consider it appropriate to bring a person to the hospital because they were hungry or because their heat got cut off? Clearly ridiculous, right? These services are well outside the purview of an Acute Care Hospital. I think any of us could come up with any number of services that a hospital could provide that any rational person would consider an unreasonable expectation. We have been told that if we were to discharge Mason and bring him to a DDA office that this would be considered an unsafe discharge because he’s unable to care for himself. Could the same be said of someone who was discharged without his future need for food being provide for by the hospital? Clearly not. There are services that are tasked to provide for these needs. Currently Mason is being provided a climate-controlled room, food, TV etc. The glaring omission? Medical care. This is the one service that we are tasked to provide and the only one that Mason doesn’t need right now. I was also told today that beyond the stay in the Emergency Department none of the costs incurred by MGH and, by extension, the citizens of Mason County, would not be reimbursed. It looks like the hospital and staff have something in common…abandonment by DSHS/DDA.

Day 15 in the Hospital

Mason remains in the hospital…

I have just received assurances from DSHS and the Governors office that they are doing everything they can. We have certainly heard this before but I’m now somewhat more hopeful that progress is being made.

I just had an interview with Kate Walters at KUOW, the Seattle NPR affiliate and she will be using some of Mason’s story as part of a larger piece that they are doing. Hopefully this will help spread the news of this shameful situation and promote a call to action. Stay tuned.