Blog WSH

State & Union Corruption

In 2014 a State Auditor Report failed to address the fact that DSHS “cooks the books” with regard to public payroll records to indicate that thousands of employees that actually work 7.75 hours ( 7 hours and 45 minutes) per day within DSHS facilities are recorded by CIBS as having worked (and are compensated for) eight hours, even though they start to accrue overtime after 7.75 hours as overtime eligible employees.   Check out the media story at KUOW.ORG and listen to the report…  20140509_JR_WesternState.mp3  Note that the Office of State Auditor held nobody accountable and TOOK NO ACTION other than to “recommend” that the process be resolved in the future.  Guess which State Auditor got union donations (ask your union)?


Note that the State Auditor Report states that this fleecing of the taxpayer has been a long standing practice within DSHS.  What the report did NOT mention was that that WFSE and SEIU labor contracts are almost identically worded.  In a public disclosure request I received a list of over a thousand overtime eligible employees that work seven hours and forty-five minutes per day who are compensated for eight hours per day at Western State Hospital alone, not the small number that was listed in the Auditor report…  Further, the Auditor report failed to mention that the practice applied to ALL DSHS facilities, not just Western State Hospital.  


RN’s work over eight days more per year in DSHS facilities (in time worked) than the 7.75 hour per day employees (majority of direct patient care providers) without additional compensation.  This illegal and inappropriate government “union payoff” practice continues to this day.  Public records are falsified daily by CIBS (payroll recording) to indicate that RN’s and WFSE employees work identical periods of time through the use of antiquated timekeeping systems (HRMS) that is incapable of recording and compensating actual hours worked, or the inequity in pay would have been addressed long before now.  Millions of dollars of unearned wages have been payed as a political favor to labor unions for their contributions though election donations.  The current Washington administration assures that antiquated timekeeping systems are NOT updated to allow the union paybacks to continue (as well as their heightened political donations)…  WFSE by continuing to collect millions in unpaid wages, racks up more union dues and assures political donations continue.   SEIU, by NOT reporting the inequity in time compensation and by withdrawing all grievances filed by RN’s to address the issue, receives political favors for the VAST majority of RN’s that compose its membership…  Public sector RN’s compose a VERY small minority of RN’s in SEIU membership as a whole and thus Public Sector Nurses act as the sacrificial lamb for political favors in terms of compensation and other issues.  This accounts for the fact that Public Sector RN’s now lag 25% behind in wages to the private sector and SEIU negotiated away half of compensation time earnings this past year and withdrew grievances to collect unpaid callback wages.  Further, SEIU allowed Public Sector Nurses to not have the same mandatory overtime protections that are enjoyed by all other RN’s employed by all private sector hospitals in Washington. 


This issue illustrates why public employees should work within a Right to Work system which would have prevented this practice from continuing for so many years.  Taxpayers payed for this dysfunction to continue.  Within a Right to Work system, employees that are treated inappropriately or inequitably by the union would have had the option to withdraw paying union dues without losing employment as would occur at this time.  Withdrawal of union dues payments by members would reduce political contributions that could be donated by the union to politicians, having this option would keep a union accountable for its actions and thus also keep politicians accountable at the same time.  Thus if Washington was a right to work state, I do not believe that this openly illegal practice would have ever been allowed to continue.  Note that the Office of State Auditor, Governor, and Legislature have supported the actions of the Public Sector Unions to continue this illegal practice at great cost to the taxpayer…  There is some justice observed at Western State Hospital because these practices have so undermined the system that approximately $65 million in Federal Funding will be lost shortly.  


Imagine how much greater the level of patient care would be at Western State Hospital if over a thousand direct patient care employees worked daily for the actual time they are compensated.  One can dream…


The Current Progress of WSH

WSH is currently dealing with massive staffing shortages of psychiatrists and registered nurses.   Current WSH administration remains essentially unchanged as the previous CEO’s supervisor and appointments continue to influence all aspects of WSH that require immediate correction.

 

There are currently 15 psychiatrist vacancies (approximately 30%) with an additional psychiatrist leaving tomorrow and no plan as to how psychiatrist coverage can be accomplished.  Psychiatrist supervisors have been recently resigning that duty as the burden has been too great to continue with those duties.  Psychiatrists are being required to cover additional patients on a daily basis without additional compensation diluting the quality of care they can provide.  Psychiatrist patient loads are now unmanageable.  Recently the new Medical Director implemented even greater workloads upon the psychiatrists  by dismantling the patient transfer committee and implementing the doctor to doctor transfer process.  Additionally, doctors are required to fill out their own timekeeping documents as there is no form of modern timekeeping system within DSHS.  Doctors that have been reassigned for investigation, remain reassigned to Olympia even though the issue under investigation does not pertain to patient clinical care. In this system when the investigation is the crime there is no recourse, and tax dollars are wasted on an individual investigation at a rate as high as $900,000 yearly- money that should be spent on patient care that might help save this sinking ship.  Many doctors have resigned.  Administration has attempted to have agency doctors fill the void to no avail.  Agency doctors often only stay for a couple months at a time and cost the state twice as much as staff doctors- $457,000 yearly for each contract doctor. One agency, Correct Care, walked away stating that they did not wish to affiliate with WSH.  Some psychiatrists that applied to return to WSH were discouraged by administration due to their stances on the previous CEO despite being well known to staff as excellent clinicians and leaders.  The problem being, the appointments by the previous CEO remain employed by WSH and the supervisor of the previous CEO remains in power.  Wages for psychiatrists is far behind that of the private sector.  Numerous doctors have expressed no confidence in the previous CEO appointed Medical Director.

 

Recently 51 registered nurse positions were funded for WSH…  One was hired, and then quickly resigned.  RN wages are approximatly 25% less than in the private sector as is also the case in the Federal sector.   WSH administration this past year eliminated the ability to earn comprehensive leave time on half of the holidays, further WSH administration implemented directives to only allow one RN to work per ward on any given holiday… Thus eliminating holiday overtime earning potential while creating overtime situations if an RN called in sick on a holiday.  Average patient loads for an RN at WSH are 30 patients to a single RN on most days.  Due to CMS correction plans, paper workloads have grown exponentially as has clinical liability.  WSH is losing four LPN’s by the end of this month and there have been no additional LPN hires.  This trend will essentially result in RN’s passing medications along with 30 patients to 1 RN charge nurse duties, when this occurs patient safety will be compromised.  Mandatory overtime is now rampant, as State RN’s at WSH are not considered by law to be working within a “hospital.”  Therefore RN’s at WSH are NOT protected under the law which protects all other RN’s within the State. 

 

The previous CEO eliminated all competency training in early 2015 at the same time DSHS had receive additional funding for training via the Ad Hoc Safety Committee recommendations.   This was due to the fact that WSH did not have enough full time positions (FTE’s) to provide even base safe staffing levels for seven days per week without massive use of overtime, let alone provide staffing for ANY additional training that was required to keep CMS funding and hospital accreditation.  DSHS provided false information to the Legislature regarding staffing on a consistent basis, resulting in the current crisis and eventual collapse of staffing which I believe can no longer be reversed before losing 64 million dollars a year in federal funding.    I was part of a WSH Training Workgroup, a few days ago I received an email stating that the WSH Training Workgroup was suspended.  The reason for this is that there is insufficient staffing to provide ANY ongoing training at WSH, therefore dooming any reasonable chance to rehabilitate the massive damage that was created by DSHS administration.  

 

This bleak picture at WSH was caused by the past two years of administrative incompetence within DSHS at all levels, and DSHS administration providing consistent false information regarding staffing needs of WSH to the Legislature.   The numbers of additional full time positions required at WSH are staggering and will be a sudden shock to the Legislature when reality based numbers are provided.  As has been stated in previous blogs, DSHS chain of command knew two years ago that an additional 170+ full time employees were required for WSH to operate at bare minimal levels of safe staffing…  The CEO asked for ZERO from the Legislature that questioned how this projection was possible when the overtime statistics were reviewed.  


Radical change in DSHS administration is required.  The Legislature must be provided with accurate information at all times.  DSHS should be held accountable for providing knowingly FALSE information to the Legislature.  

Election Authorization Card 2.docx

“Truth” Be Told… And other DSHS/Government propaganda…

Until recently, I was unaware that DSHS had its own propaganda web page for its administrators…  In my blogs I have often stated how completely detached administration has been from its direct patient care personnel.  It is clear that DSHS has implemented its own propaganda structure to propel its own “group think.”  This isolation from reality has resulted in the current state of affairs at WSH.  WSH employees, must OFTEN rely on the press releases to provide pertinent information to allow staff to perform their normal duties safety, as this data often does NOT come directly from administration.  For instance, when the H1N1 outbreak occurred, numerous employees were exposed because administration kept the situation top secret, which was admitted to by the Medical Director.  Had it not been for the KOMO report, staff would not have known to take precautions.  The DSHS propaganda web page actually provided untrue data regarding the handling of the H1N1 incident.  The propaganda page does not allow employees or media that are mischaracterized by its untruths to provide corrections.  After untrue data is posted on the propaganda page, it deletes the data and does not provide an archive.  This type of situation can only exist if the Governor level sanctioned the propaganda.  Government transparency is required to remedy this situation.  This is why I am shining a light on the cockroaches…


Brave employees often contact the media to provide information which would result in retaliation if the same concerns were directly provided to WSH or DSHS administrative personnel.  Unlike DSHS, the media vets its information for accuracy before publication.  I am often contacted by the media because of my past repeated duties as a Chair and Executive of the RN union, being present and past member of many WSH committees, as well as being the publisher of my own web page and RN Facebook page.  The media stories are exceptionally accurate and provide much needed transparency into DSHS, transparency that DSHS attempts to obfuscate through its propaganda page.



When you enter the propaganda page, note that the author of the response to media is NOT LISTED.  This tells you a little something about the accountability for the propaganda that is spewed.  Note that there is no contact number.  The reporters contact information and data are pubic knowledge and are listed often on their reports.  In fact, I feel compelled to provide the contact information of those reporters that have been slandered by our State Government…  Please contact them whenever you have important information to provide for the safety of our patients and peers.  Recent history indicates that administration will not provide this data to us, only the media will.



It is important that we fight the current State Administration and its “group think.”  As a multiple whistleblower I can clearly state that WSH/DSHS employees encounter DIRECT retaliation from administration for providing the truth (transparency) to other agencies when WSH/DSHS knowingly endangers the lives of patients, staff, and community.  In fact, I am currently under investigation for whistleblowing to the Department of Health when WSH attempted to coerce myself to send a patient to criminal hearings into the community without security escort (security escort was refused by WSH).  I refused to allow this to happen and reported WSH to the Department of Health as a Facilities Complaint by including the Department of Health Complaint Intake Department as an email string recipient, thereby filing a formal Faclilites complaint.    WSH had demanded that two nursing personnel working alone (that were never trained in transport processes or criminal proceedings) perform this duty to bring the patient to a criminal hearing within the community.  Please understand that these situations are continuing to occur even AFTER the removal of the previous CEO.  This is because the persons appointed by the previous CEO remain employed by WSH administration and are supported by DSHS.  Nothing has changed.  Although I am “under investigation,” I prevented patients from being transported to criminal hearings, sentencing, and arraignments by untrained and unqualified personnel without security escort.  As a whistleblower, I am implementing the protections that are provided by law.


It is important to take a deep look at State Government and its current practices.  The existence of the propaganda page is disgusting.  If the propaganda page must exist, Governor Inslee, at least provide an archive, authorship information, and contact information for personnel to access.  We, the impacted employees, might have a little something to say… 


Remember, we as voters can make a difference.  Look into the facts and vote your conscience.  Your choices for Governor are:


Bill Bryant - FaceBook Page,  Web Site.

Jay Inslee - FaceBook Page,  Web Site.


© Paul Vilja 2017