Additional beds for competency restoration patients come online at Western State Hospital


A new ward for housing competency restoration patients recently opened on the campus of Western State Hospital (photo by Jo Sahlin)

Thursday, May 11, 2023
DSHS Office of Communications
Tyler Hemstreet
(564) 201–0027

(LAKEWOOD) — One of two new wards opened May 1 to patients in the Gage Forensic Center of Excellence on the campus of Western State Hospital.

All 29 beds on the new ward, F9, are now occupied by patients undergoing competency restoration. A second new ward, F10, is near completion and is on target to begin receiving patients as early as next week.

The opening of the two wards adds a total of 58 new beds to the hospital’s capacity.

Over the past nine fiscal years, there has been an approximate 145 percent increase of requests for inpatient evaluations and competency restoration services through the Department of Social and Health Services. These large and unpredicted increases in the number of court orders entered by county criminal courts have exceeded the large number of beds added to the forensic system.

However, multiple new facilities are currently in the process of being developed and opened. DSHS is creating a new not guilty by reason of insanity facility at the Maple Lane campus near Rochester, which is scheduled to open in late fall 2023.

Multiple projects that are designed to serve the civil conversion population are also under development.

A 16-bed, state-operated civil treatment facility on the same campus opened in April and is currently at capacity. This facility serves the long-term civil commitment population, including patients who are currently occupying beds at the state hospitals.

Additionally, site development on another three facilities in Clark County, totaling 48 beds, is expected to begin in the coming weeks. These beds, targeted to open in 2025, will have capacity to serve patients committed as conversion patients, pursuant to RCW 10.77.086.

The department has also received $613 million in the 2023–25 budget (which has yet to be signed by the governor) with $282 million promised in the 2025–27 budget to fully fund design and construction of the new 350-bed forensic hospital.

The project is in the early stages of development and the demolition phase is forecasted to begin later this summer, with completion slated to occur between 2027 and 2029.