Providence offers severance packages to 37 workers at detox center in Lacey

OlympianMay 15, 2014 

Voluntary severance packages were offered this week to 37 workers — more than half of the staff — at Providence St. Peter Chemical Dependency Center, which temporarily suspended inpatient admissions following a state and federal investigation into a death of a patient earlier this year, according to spokeswoman Deborah Shawver. 

The joint investigation into the Feb. 3 death by the state Department of Health and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid found that staff at the Lacey-based facility did not follow a physician’s order on how frequently to monitor the patient’s vital signs, or notify the physician if the patient’s blood pressure fell below a certain level, according to an Olympian archive story. 

Providence submitted a corrective plan for deficiencies outlined by investigators last month, but the center is now undergoing “a thorough assessment of all operations,” according to a statement issued by Sue Beall, director of behavioral health services for Providence Health and Services’ southwest Washington region. 

“It’s a lot easier to do that when you’re not at full capacity,” Shawver said. 

The facility has 63 people on staff, she said. Many of them have taken unpaid “hospital convenience” days, also known as “low census days,” due to lack of work related to the admission suspension.   

The severance package “may be beneficial for some employees who are currently having to take unpaid leave for an undetermined period of time,” Beall said in a statement.  

“This is not a layoff,” Shawver said. “This is an option that’s giving employees an opportunity to make a choice and decide whether they want to continue taking low census days or whether they want to take the severance and look for other opportunities.”

The center hasn’t determined yet when it will reopen for new patients for its in-patient program, Shawver said. 

However, it is still offering outpatient chemical dependency services, according to Beall’s statement.


Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 @Lisa_Pemberton

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