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Feds decertify one of three facilities for disabled adults at Rainier School

In this Feb. 3, 2010 photo, residents pass through an outside walkway at the Rainier School in Buckley.
In this Feb. 3, 2010 photo, residents pass through an outside walkway at the Rainier School in Buckley. Associated Press file photo

The federal government has decertified a state-run facility for disabled adults and now Washington is at risk of losing $1 million per month in funding.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) notified the state this week that it is decertifying one of three facilities at Rainier School residential habilitation center in Buckley.

State officials said they are moving residents to facilities that better meet the residents’ needs. About 90 adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities reside at the facility. They should be moved by fall, the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) said in a statement Friday.

The 80-year-old Rainier School is one of four DSHS-operated residential centers for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities in Washington. It houses approximately 283 residents and has a $146 million annual budget.

DSHS’ Developmental Disabilities Administration, which operates the school, said it has been addressing longstanding concerns at its three facilities at Rainier School.

Last fall, state officials began transitioning about 45 residents from the now-decertified facility to other ones that it said were better able to meet residents’ needs.

Some of those facilities receive federal funding which means some of the $1 million federal funding loss could be restored. As an example, DSHS said some residents are better suited for nursing facilities rather than training programs.

DSHS attempted to forge an improvement agreement for the facility with CMS, but CMS declined, according to DSHS.

DSHS said it might appeal the decision by CMS.

Craig Sailor has worked for The News Tribune for 20 years as a reporter, editor and photographer. He previously worked at The Olympian and at other newspapers in Nevada and California.


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