DSHS - Frequently asked questions
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Frequently asked questions

What are treatment teams?

Each patient's treatment team is comprised of physicians, social workers, rehabilitation therapy staff, and nursing staff. They work with the patient to identify strengths and goals and establish a discharge plan. Families and significant others are encouraged to be active members of the patient’s support network.


The Patient Advocate’s office provides services to patients at Eastern State Hospital to help them resolve conflict and complaints. The Patient Advocate can be reached at (509) 565-4520.

Adults age 18 or older qualify for services at Eastern State Hospital . Patients are committed through the judicial system under RCW 10.77 or civilly committed through RCW 71.05.

Civil - Patients may be detained by a designated mental health professional or transferred from a community inpatient psychiatric facility under RCW 71.05. Following admission, the treatment team will meet with the patient to complete assessments and then identify diagnoses, treatment goals and discharge plans. If the patient requires additional hospitalization following the initial detention period, the treatment team will make a referral for continued hospitalization and a court hearing will occur.

Family members should contact their local regional support network, mental health center, or crisis network if they feel their family member needs hospitalization to maintain his/her safety or the safety of others.

Forensic (legal) - Admissions to the Eastern State Hospital forensic (legal) unit are through the criminal justice system.

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During treatment at Eastern State Hospital, state and federal law protects patients to ensure they are given care, treatment and privileges that enhance their dignity, promote their welfare, and protects their civil rights. To obtain a copy of the rights of patients at Eastern State Hospital, contact the Patient Advocate's office at (509) 565-4520 ( in hospital dial 4520)

The hospital is located 20 miles southwest of Spokane, Washington in Medical Lake.

Eastern State Hospital
PO Box 800, Maple Street
Medical Lake, WA 99022-0800
Phone: (509) 565-4000
Fax (509) 565-4705

You can call the patient - first time callers please call (509) 565-4000

You can write a letter - address it to the patient

You can contact the ward and request that the patient call you - call (509) 565-4000

If your phone number is considered long distance, you can purchase phone cards for your friend or family member for them to use to call you from the hospital.

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The hospital capacity is 287 beds; 91 on the Adult Psychiatric Unit; 101 on the Geropsychiatric Unit and 95 on the Forensic Services Unit.

Patients were buried in the hospital’s cemeteries from 1891 to 1954. If you have a family member that you think might be buried in the hospital’s cemeteries, contact the Medical Record Department at (509) 565-4335. The staff will determine if you are authorized to receive information regarding patients who have been buried in the hospital’s cemeteries and will assist you with your questions.

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When a patient arrives at the hospital, a physician and nurse meet with the patient to discuss the reasons for the admission. A discharge plan is formulated at the time of admission. The patient and staff identify strengths and goals to achieve discharge. The patient is then introduced to the ward staff, other patients, and his/her ward environment.

At the time of admission, the patient’s clothing and personal items will be checked and inventoried. As a precaution against loss or theft, the patient is asked to allow all clothing to be marked with the patient’s name.

Patients are asked to have family members to keep all valuables. Valuable items that are brought to the hospital are maintained in the hospital’s safe. If a patient chooses to keep a personal item in his/her possession, the patient will assume liability for loss.

Patients are not allowed to keep sharp or potentially dangerous items such as knives, scissors, straight and safety razors, cigarette lighters or lighter fluid, or glass containers or bottles. These items will be stored in the Security Office or disposed of.

Since storage space is limited, patients are encouraged to not bring personal property to the hospital other than clothing.

The physician will assess whether a patient’s personal medications should be provided to him/her while hospitalized or if hospital medications will be substituted. Patient’s personal medications will be stored. Family members should not bring medications (either prescription or over-the-counter) to patients in the hospital.

Patients are allowed to keep a reasonable amount of spending money. Money is deposited in an account with the hospital. Withdrawals are made by notifying the designated staff member on the unit.

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The laws of the state of Washington require that patients who are voluntary or committed are responsible for their hospitalization costs, per RCW 43.20B.330. The Office of Financial Recovery (OFR) will bill Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. However, Medicaid will only pay for eligible patients who are under age 20 or 65 years of age and over. If it appears the patient may have an ability to pay for their cost of care, OFR will send the patient, family or representative a "Financial Questionnaire" to complete. Upon receipt, OFR will determine financial liability, based on WAC 388-855-0065, as hospitalization costs may be adjusted. An official notification stating the daily or monthly financial liability will be sent to all responsible parties. For more information, contact Denise Smith at OFR-Olympia (360) 664-5477 or Patty Hendrix, OFR-ESH (509) 565-4441.

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Eastern State Hospital believes that patient privacy and confidentiality are of primary importance during treatment. Confidentiality is the basis of therapy and the patient has the right to control access to information concerning treatment and to have his/her personal privacy assured and protected within the constraints of the treatment plan.

It is the policy of Eastern State Hospital to maintain confidential information according to state law as well as the policies and procedures of the Department of Social and Health Services. For patients to receive appropriate treatment and continuity of care, information may be shared among treating agencies and others as allowed by law and necessary for continuity of care.

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