Portions of two DSHS facilities for people with developmental disabilities decertified by CMS

Release Date: 
Dec 18 2017
DSHS Office of Communications
Lisa Copeland
(360) 902-7844

OLYMPIA – The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) announced today that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued letters of decertification for portions of two of its Residential Habilitation Centers (RHCs) for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities –   Rainier and Fircrest schools.

DSHS can continue to receive federal funds during the appeals process and residents currently living in the facilities will not be affected.

The facilities received the letters for failing to meet requirements for staffing and active treatment (also referred to as skills training), which involves a variety of services to help people become more independent.

DSHS has an opportunity to appeal and plans to do so. As part of the process, DSHS will be able to negotiate a systems improvement agreement with CMS. The agreement would allow the agency 12 months to come into compliance with federal requirements.

“We have been working proactively to address these issues and are committed to achieving compliance,” said Evelyn Perez, DSHS Assistant Secretary for the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA). “We also recognize that more resources are needed. I am grateful the governor’s proposed 2018 supplemental budget provides funding to meet CMS requirements for continuous active treatment in all intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities.”

“We intend to appeal this decertification and we appreciate the opportunity to work with CMS on an agreement that will bring us into compliance,” said Perez.

Rainier and Fircrest are two of the four state-operated RHCs for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Rainier School is located in Buckley and Fircrest School is in Shoreline. They are operated by DDA. Fircrest supports approximately 200 residents and Rainier about 310.

Residential Care Services – the state agent for CMS – surveyed both facilities as part of a routine procedure in October 2016. During those surveys, both centers received citations, placing sections of their facilities into “denial of payment for new admissions” status. When in this status, the schools may not use federal funds to pay the costs for new residents.

Copies of the decertification letters are available on the DSHS website






DSHS does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.