Western State Hospital implements new policy for escaped patients

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington state's largest psychiatric hospital has revised its policies for notifying the police when a patient goes missing or escapes from the facility.

Thursday's announcement comes after the release of a scathing report from a corrections team that reviewed Western State Hospital's handling of the escape of two violent patients. Anthony Garver and Mark Adams escaped in April, setting off a state-wide manhunt.

The report said hospital officials failed to put safety first, leaving the public at risk. The team also discovered 25,000 missing keys and thousands of missing tools used to open windows.

Hospital CEO Cheryl Strange says they've streamlined the process for notifying law enforcement when a patient goes missing. They also will now provide timely information to police about a missing patient's most recent assaultive or threatening behavior.

The new policy also provides clarity about the roles staff play when responding to escapes.

A hospital spokeswoman says they'll provide the police with information about the patient's behavior and the police will decide whether to notify the public.