New policy changes could come to DSHS - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New policy changes could come to DSHS

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WASHINGTON--  There's new information on the investigation into Eastern State Hospital policies, after a criminally insane inmate escaped while on a field trip three months ago.

Since then all trips have been suspended.  Now the Department of Social Health and Services has new policies in place including special clearance for patients to go on field trips, limiting trips to no more than four at a time, and requiring hospitals to keep up to date photos of all forensic patients.

There's even talk of moving all criminally insane patients from  Eastern to Western State Hospital.

"The panel had robust conversations about this, including [weighing] the pros and cons, says Richard Kellogg, director of Mental Health Systems with the DSHS.  "I think the recommendations speak for themselves.  The DSHS will look at these suggestions and take a look at them over time, but it is not our top priority right now."

A safety review panel did not recommend any disciplinary action on any staff members at eastern state hospital.