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Advocacy Group Sharply Critical of State Mental Health Care

A Washington State advocacy group for developmentally disabled people is sounding an alarm over treatment of patients at Lakeland Village, a state residential center in Medical Lake. Disability Rights Washington has told the Department of Social and Health Services that drastic budget cuts imposed during the recessionary years have resulted in inadequate care, improper classification of patients, and in some cases, fraudulent record keeping.

In a tartly worded letter to the DSHS chief of the Developmental Disabilities Administration, at the advocacy group contended that Lakeland Village is not even meeting basic nursing home standards. let alone a facility where all the residents have intellectual disabilities or related conditions.

David Carlson of the disability rights group said DSHS has ignored and failed to address the "inattentive warehousing of vulnerable adults entrusted to Lakeland Village's care."

Carlson drew heavily on a federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services audit which found more than 40,000 legal violations of patients's rights at the facility.

State agency officials said the violations were merely paperwork problems. They've sent federal auditors a corrective plan, and they're hired new staff members to address the problems.

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