Western State Hospital has shown enough noticeable progress to earn a 60-day extension to continue its certification and maintain eligibility for federal funding.

An announcement from the Department of Social and Health Services revealed that the Lakewood psychiatric hospital has been provided an extension to its Systems Improvement Agreement from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services. During the extension, CMS will continue to work with the Department to identify next steps for the hospital.

CMS and DSHS entered into the original agreement in June 2016 to fix systemic operating problems at the hospital and restore the focus on patient treatment and overall safety.

The CMS survey, conducted in May 2017, was an extremely rigorous review by 23 experienced surveyors. It covered all areas of hospital operations and lasted nearly three weeks. Their feedback was provided to the Department on June 28 in a Form 2567 Statement of Deficiencies.

WSH’s progress included significant improvements in areas such as active psychiatric treatment. Continuously cited as critically deficient in prior surveys, improvements made by WSH resulted in no CMS report of deficiencies in psychiatric care services — a core function for psychiatric hospitals.

The extension is a big step in an ongoing process. A statement from DSHS maintained that while WSH’s latest Form 2567 reflected progress over the past year, it also identified areas that still require more time to show full implementation and sustainability.