Flawed system for mentally ill and poor | Q&A with Mr. Federal Way

Mr. Federal Way - File photo
Mr. Federal Way
— image credit: File photo

Q: Mr. Federal Way, what do you think about the proposed closure of the King County Public Health clinic in Federal Way?

A: Mr. Federal Way doesn’t plan on getting pregnant anytime soon and neither does Mr. Federal Way’s wife. That said, there are 13,700 local poor women and infants who will be impacted if the clinic shutters. Many of these women receive maternity services there.

Faced with a budget deficit of $15 million, King County Public Health has proposed closing three south King County Public Health clinics, Federal Way, Auburn and White Center, together accounting for over 32,000 low-income women who receive maternity and infant care services, family planning and Women, Infant and Children nutrition services.

Mr. Federal Way would be willing to forgo a Big Mac or even an entire pizza every month if Mr. Federal Way thought those funds would help the problem. But Mr. Federal Way’s dollars would be a drop in a bucket that’s lacking over $1 million.

Mr. Federal Way could ask city of Federal Way officials to help, who took a stand during Tuesday’s Council meeting and opposed the proposed closure. It’s a notable move, albeit city staff admits the city doesn’t have “spare resources” to save the clinic.

It looks like people won’t get the healthcare services they need and could end up getting sick. But the good news is, as these people head to the local hospitals, they probably won’t clog the emergency rooms.

How’s that possible?

Well, the Supreme Court ruled this week against detaining mental health patients in local hospitals. That’s right, mental health patients can no longer be held in emergency rooms or general hospitals simply because there are no appropriate settings available to serve them and meet their needs.

The bad news is these people in need of mental treatment may end up on the streets. But the good news is this could free up hospital space for the sick people who may be underserved if the Public Health clinics close.

Mentally ill and sick people will run amok, in the streets throughout Federal Way, King County and the entire state. And the upcoming King County Metro bus cuts will only make it harder for low-income families to access health care.

But amid the chaos, there is an end of sorts in sight for some.

King County Executive Dow Constantine on Thursday announced a plan for a low-income bus fare for Metro. Once it takes effect in March, King County Metro will be the first major transit system in the United States to offer a low-income fare.

So there may be hope after all for mentally ill, sick and poor people.

Q: What do you think of Federal Way Public Schools continuing to use standards-based grading and using our children as guinea pigs on a system that has not been successfully implemented elsewhere?

A: You’ve gotten Mr. Federal Way started before on the district’s grading system and Mr. Federal Way still hasn’t stopped bemoaning the subject since it all began. Lucky for you.

While Mr. Federal Way has yet to do any scientific analysis on the matter, Mr. Federal Way did receive an email from concerned parents who made some interesting alleged discoveries.

According to the parents, Federal Way Public Schools identified 27 school districts that use the grading system and these schools were used as examples to support the system in Federal Way. With further review, many of these schools are not implementing the system appropriately, nor are they reporting uniformly, according to the parents.

Based on review of 22 of these schools by one of Federal Way’s grading committee members, only two school districts were rated positively by the reviewer.

Hearing that, Mr. Federal Way may have just reached that point of frustration to transfer Mr. Federal Way’s kids out of the school district.

But first, Mr. Federal Way wants school officials to answer this question: If this information is accurate, why even ring in the new school year this fall with the standards-based grading? Why not use the grading system when you know — as sure as rain in Seattle — that it really is working correctly in other districts and leading to higher success rates for students?

Mr. Federal Way is still not convinced. And given that at least seven people have dropped out of the district’s grading committee, for whatever reasons, Mr. Federal Way isn’t convinced that others in the community are buying the grading system either.

Q: Mr. Federal Way, I am heartbroken that actor Robin Williams died this week of suicide, due to his mental illness. Do you suffer from mental illness?

A: None of your business.


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