Fiscal Year 2010 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill

Our state has been particularly hard hit by the economic downturn – unemployment levels have skyrocketed and I’ve heard from many local communities struggling to cover basic services like education, public safety, transportation and health care. As a United States Senator, part of my job is to help critical priorities in our state receive attention from the federal government so that we can help reinvigorate our economy, create new, high-paying jobs, and help our working families stay ahead in these tough economic times.


Part of that process at the federal level includes making sure that our state gets our fair share of funding from the federal government. Washington consistently pays more in federal tax dollars than we receive back in federal investment and services.

During the annual budget process, I submit requests to the Senate Appropriations Committee for congressionally directed spending for Washington state (sometimes referred to as “earmarks”) that benefits our state. Some of these include: flood control levees; airport, rail, highway and mass transit improvements; drinking water and wastewater infrastructure; gang crime prevention and intervention programs; workforce training; and, agricultural research. I am working to continue to make this process even more transparent and to ensure that we’re spending taxpayer dollars wisely.


Every year, I receive hundreds of requests for assistance from cities, counties, water and utility districts, transportation agencies, and others. I carefully review and evaluate these requests — and choose to submit a selection of these projects to the Committee.  The final outcome for any request will not be known until the bill has been approved by the House and Senate, and signed into law by the President.

I will be posting each request I make to my Web site as they are submitted to the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

Below you will find detailed information about requests I made for the FY 2010 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill. 


Behavioral Health CenterSkagit Valley Hospital (Mount Vernon, WA)


Physical health is not the only component to overall health; mental health plays just as important a role.  To this end, it is important we provide the same level of support to behavioral health centers as we do general health centers.  In northwest Washington state the Skagit Valley Hospital is one of the only care facilities to provide around-the-clock behavioral care for both voluntary and involuntary admissions.


These funds will help the Skagit Valley Hospital expand its Behavioral Health Center to meet the region’s increasing demand and to continue providing high-quality mental health care to those in need.  Currently, the hospital has 15 beds available for behavioral health patients, but it is operating at nearly double capacity, and often they are forced to relocate patients due to lack of space.  This limits the physician’s ability to properly care for patients.  The expansion project calls for increasing patient rooms that provide a more effective healing environment as well as enhanced security.  The improved behavioral health center will allow the hospital to safely, effectively and efficiently meet the mental health needs of the community.


Amount Requested: $750,000



Brain Atlas – Human Brain – Allen Institute for Brain Science (Seattle, WA)


To understand the brain’s role in behavior and disease requires knowledge of the brain’s structural organization, functional organization, and how the mechanisms underlying both structure and function work.  For well over a century, neuroanatomists have been mapping the brain’s structural organization.  The development of brain imaging techniques, such as PET and fMRI helped to understand the brain’s functional organization.  The Allen Institute for Brain Science, a 501(c)3 has been developing the Human Brain Atlas which will help researchers connect anatomic and functional information with underlying genetic information.


This project will provide an essential and unique window into gene activity in the human brain.  It has the potential for advancing new and existing research programs on brain diseases, disorders and trauma.  It will offer critical information for developing new and better therapeutic drugs.  In addition to serving the scientific research community, the Allen Human Brain Atlas is expected to support an even broader user community that includes the medical and education communities.  Expertise in massive scale laboratory projects, informatics, and computational hardware and software systems for collecting and making data freely available to the public via the Web are assets unique to the Institute and will be central to the Allen Human Brain Atlas.


Amount Requested: $3,000,000



Children's Village Expansion – Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital (Yakima, WA)


Children’s Village in Yakima is a multi-agency service center serving children with special healthcare needs and their families from throughout central Washington. Since its establishment in 1997, Children’s Village has expanded services from 900 to almost 4,000 children and their families annually. The planned expansion of the Children’s Village facility in Yakima will improve local infrastructure for service delivery to children with special healthcare needs and their families in central Washington. The expansion will most directly impact children with special healthcare needs and their families, but in addition the project will support local healthcare/social service providers and school districts in their delivery of services to children with special healthcare needs and their families. The planned Children’s Village Expansion will substantially expand the Yakima facility from 24,600 square feet to 37,700 square feet. This will permit expansion of high-demand services for children with special healthcare needs and their families in central Washington, including: autism services and support; pediatric Medical Specialty services, pediatric therapy services, pediatric dental treatment, parent support, infant & toddler home based services staff space, and volunteer and other centralized support services. 


Amount Requested:  $400,000



Eastern Washington University Center for Water Studies (Cheney, WA)


Washington state is facing increasingly urgent concerns surrounding fresh water sufficiency, purity and availability in the face of natural shortages and conflicting interests that threaten access to adequate water resources.  This is particularly true in Eastern Washington, where agricultural, industrial, commercial and residential water users are competing for a decreasing supply of water.  To properly understand the steps needed to deal with this growing concern, it is necessary to examine the problem with an interdisciplinary and tactical approach.


The Center’s objective will be to undertake applied research and other support needs for community-identified water projects in collaboration with various local agencies and groups.  In addition, the Center will establish an interdisciplinary undergraduate/postgraduate Certificate in Water Resources Policy, designed to prepare students from a variety of both social and natural science majors for direct employment as specialists in water-related policy and allocation issues.  The Center for Water Studies will provide the region with not only much needed research on the issue of water use, but a highly-trained workforce ready to tackle the problem hands-on.


Amount Requested: $341,583



Emergency Department Expansion – Central Washington Hospital (Wenatchee, WA)


Central Washington Hospital’s (CWH) Emergency Department is currently too small to accommodate current demand. The geographical isolation of North Central Washington and the Wenatchee Valley makes travel between Wenatchee and more specialized care in Seattle challenging and sometimes near impossible during the winter months.  Inclement weather and mountainous terrain combine to create a situation where CWH cannot transfer patients despite capacity constraints. 


Last year, CWH’s Emergency Department provided care for 31,600 patients in its 12-bed facility, an average of 2,633 visits per bed per year.  This is well in excess of the 1,800 visits recommended by the American Institute of Architects, and the 1,500 visits recommended by the Emergency Nurses Association as accepted best practice. As the major medical hub and only designated trauma center in central Washington, CWH must improve its emergency and trauma services for the region by expanding space and capacity, technology, and efficiency.  CWH will double the size of its Emergency Department to accommodate the 2027 projected 40,000 visits per year.  The number of Emergency Department beds will increase to 22 with an adjacent eight bed holding area to evaluate new patients.


Amount Requested: $1,300,000



Engaged in Education (Ex2) Program – Community Colleges of Spokane (Spokane, WA)


Employment opportunities for high school dropouts are scarce, and those that are available tend to be low-skill and low-paying.  This problem is particularly acute in the Spokane region of Eastern Washington state, where the drop-out rate is well over 30 percent and the overall on-time graduation rate is only 57 percent.  The region’s dropout rate corresponds to rising unemployment and has led to more families receiving TANF assistance than any time in recent memory.  In order to combat this trend, the Community Colleges of Spokane have developed an integrated basic education and career technical education program targeted at disengaged, at-risk and dropout youth called the Engaged in Education (Ex2) Program.  This program provides youth with an opportunity to enter community college to complete their high school diploma/GED while simultaneously acquiring the skills necessary to obtain in-demand jobs.  Additionally, the program provides skill-improvement training for under- and unemployed adults and English as a Second Language courses to the community at large.

This funding will allow the program to target 16-21 year old youth and under- and unemployed adults and provide them with both classroom and distance learning opportunities.  Though individualized case management, Ex2 links students with the support, resources, services, transportation assistance and career guidance to become successful, contributing members of the community.

Amount Requested: $205,549



Fostering Scholars Program – Seattle University (Seattle, WA)

The nation’s support for the growing population of youth in foster care is lacking, and sobering statistics from the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services confirm the narrow scope of opportunity that awaits undereducated foster-care youth; four years after emancipation, one-half of former foster youth are unemployed.  In Washington State, only 3 in 10 foster youth graduate from high school, and only one quarter of thse who do graduate enroll in a postsecondary program immediately after high school.  However, statistics show that fully 70 percent of foster youth want to go to college, indicating the overwhelming existance of a will to achieve in the face of equally overwhelming obsticales. 


Funding for this program will provide a wide-range of services to encourage higher eduction, including full-tuition scholarships, year-round room and board, health insurance, personal support, a program of cohort and leadership development, work-study jobs, and opportunituies to study abroad.  Additionally, the program provides access to tutoring, therapy and counseling as needed, and the benefit of emergency funds to foster children who have aged out of the foster care system.  This program provieds foster-children with the opportunity they need to achieve success. 


Amount Requested: $500,000



Healthcare Northwest Training Partnership – Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges (Olympia, WA)


It has been demonstrated that the use of home and community based services (HCBS) are far more efficient, both in terms of cost savings and overall health outcomes, than institutional long-term care.  In Washington state, there has been an ongoing rebalancing of long-term care away from nursing homes and other institutional care facilities and towards the more efficient HCBS, resulting in significant overall savings to the health care system.  Underlying the rebalancing effort is the need to strengthen the HCBS workforce, comprised of highly-skilled professionals dedicated to caring for seniors and the disabled throughout the state.


In order the meet the increasing demand for HCBS professionals, the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges has devised a curriculum to train the long-term care workforce.  This funding will help support this curriculum, which includes the 150 hours training necessary to become a Certified Home Care Aide and an Advanced Home Care Aide, a peer mentorship program for experienced and novice home health aides and improved technology for use in web-based training and career counseling.  The need for home health aides is expected to increase dramatically over the next several years, and this program will help prepare the workforce needed to provide this critical care service.


Amount Requested: $500,000



Inland Northwest Regional Partnership for Sustainable Development ProjectSpokane Area Workforce Development Council (Spokane, WA)


Over the course of the last several years the economic engine driving the Inland Northwest region of Washington state has shifted from a heavily agriculture and extractive industry base to one progressively powered by aerospace, advanced manufacturing, clean energy, healthcare and efficient technology.  This change in the industrial base brought with it a corresponding change in workforce demands; increased high-tech skills and integrated systems knowledge are essential in this demanding environment.  The Inland Northwest Regional Partnership for Sustainable Development Project is designed to develop the infrastructure necessary to provide youth, disadvantaged adults and dislocated workers with the skills necessary to find success in the new and changing economy.


To help support the Sustainable Development Project this funding will provide regional leaders the resources necessary to identify gaps in the changing industrial environment and devise strategies to improve workforce pipeline integration.  Through the creation of an infrastructure that supports long-term economic development, the region will experience a multiplier effect of increased industrial operations and improved training and employment opportunities.


Amount Requested: $360,000



Installation of 800 MHz Emergency Radio Reception System – Valley Medical Center (Renton, WA)


During times of medical emergencies and acute-care situations it is imperative that first responders and emergency medical personnel have the ability to communicate with one another.  However, there are times when buildings or other impediments block over-the-air communications.  This is especially problematic with outdated communications technology.


To help the Valley Medical Center (VMC) in Renton, WA, overcome the increasing problem of poor communication between agencies and personnel, this funding will provide for the design and installation of an 800 MHz Radio Reception System in the Medical Center’s main campus. The installation of this system will provide local Law Enforcement and Emergency Response agencies the ability to receive radio communications within VMC facilities and ensure that during the most critical situations the lines of communication are open and the proper response is forthcoming.


Amount Requested: $350,000



National Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Innovation Center (AMMIC) –

Edmonds Community College (Lynnwood, WA)


The Puget Sound region has long been recognized as one of the primary hubs of trade and manufacturing in the world; in fact, the Seattle metropolitan statistical area has the highest concentration of aerospace jobs anywhere on earth.  It is important not only to Washington, but to the nation at large, that these high-tech, high-value jobs receive the necessary support to provide the aerospace industry with the workforce it needs.  As the current aerospace workforce ages and the number of high school graduates going on to study engineering and science diminishes, the pool of qualified aerospace workers is decreasing, putting the future of the American aerospace industry at risk.


The AMMIC will provide its partners the ability to leverage the cost of expensive training equipment that is needed for high-end, technical training, (i.e., composite hot bonders, rapid prototype machines, filament winders, SEM microscopes), and to be able to set up intensive workshops for industry and colleges alike, providing instructor training sessions that will create a systemic solution to the workforce issues in the region’s aerospace industry.


Amount Requested:  $1,000,000



Navos – Burien Campus Relocation, Mental Health Facilities and Equipment

Navos (Burien, WA)


Properly treating mental health problems among vulnerable and at-risk populations is one of the most effective ways to reduce homelessness, address alcohol and chemical dependency issues and avoid incarceration.  Navos (formerly known as Highline West Seattle Mental Health) serves some of the most challenged and poorest mental health patients in King County, Washington.  Through a philosophy of preventative mental health it provides services in a cost-effective way that reduces incidents of uninsured treatments and provides savings to public and private health care providers.


Recently the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport added a third runway, necessitating the relocation of the Navos facilities.  Such close approximation to a major airport runway has  proved disadvantageous to their mental health patients.  As such, this funding will assist Navos in their relocation and to provide them with the resources necessary to continue providing critically necessary services.  In addition to providing Navos with a new site capable of meeting the needs of its patients, the vacated land will free up commercial land space that can be redeveloped, providing the area with upwards of 1,200 jobs and much needed tax revenue.   


Amount Requested: $800,000



North Valley Hospital Medical Equipment – Okanogan Public Hospital District No. 4, d/b/a North Valley Hospital (Tonasket, WA)


Access to quality health care in rural areas can be highly limited and difficult to come by.  This is true for north-central Washington state, where one of the region’s major health centers is undergoing a much needed expansion project to better serve the region.  This funding is for medical equipment for North Valley Hospital’s expansion.  The expansion includes an additional 35,000 square feet of new grounds, including orthopedic surgery and infusion therapy centers.  Equipment needed for the upcoming expansion includes a nurse call system, emergency room equipment, an electronic medical records system, and a facility wide telephone system that will allow secure medical data transmission.


Amount Requested: $500,000


Nursing School Improvement Project – Washington State University (Pullman, WA)


The country is faced with a chronic nursing shortage, which is expected to only increase in the coming years.  This is especially true in rural areas, where qualified health professionals are already in high demand.  In order to combat this shortage it is important we provide nursing schools with the tools and resources necessary to educate and train the next generation of nurses.


This project will allow the Nursing School to expand their capacity to provide distance learning through advanced simulation technologies and to create an e-network that will provide students and faculty across the state with access to enhanced research capabilities and high-quality education tools.  These resources will allow for increased research into areas of critical need, such as traumatic brain injury and substance abuse, afflictions that are especially problematic for military personal upon return from combat, and provide the region with a well-trained nursing workforce.


Amount Requested: $1,800,000






Phase III of the Olympic Medical’s Community Electronic Medical Records Connection Project – Olympic Medical Center (Port Angeles, WA)


Coordination of care is a critical component in providing patients with the best overall health care possible.  This is especially true for seniors, who suffer disproportionate rates of chronic illness, and require the care several different physicians and specialists to cover the wide-range of health care needs.  In order for all the different providers to be able to deliver the necessary care it is vital they have access to a patient’s total health records; lack of such coordinated care leads to increased delays, sidetracked patient management and follow-up care and even misdiagnosis.  However, proper coordination of care is easily achieved through the use of electronic health records, which provide accurate and timely access to patient’s total medical history. 


Clallam County in western Washington state, home to the Olympic Medical Center, is facing an urgent need for an electronic health records system.  Recently, the region’s other major health care center closed, taking with it the region’s electronic patient management system.  With an aging population of nearly twice the national average, and the resulting increase in patient load, this funding will provide the Olympic Medical Center the ability to conduct its Community Electronic Medical Records Connection Project.  This project will improve communication between the medical center, clinics, doctors, pharmacies, labs, home health and other qualified providers.  Additionally, it will result in improved overall care coordination, increased delivery efficiency and a decrease in overall health care costs.


Amount Requested: $750,000



Project Access – Spokane County Medical Society Foundation (Spokane, WA)


During times of increased unemployment the number of families without health insurance also increases.  For these families, finding access to quality, affordable health care can prove difficult, especially if the needed care requires specialty and hospital services.  In Spokane, WA, if low-income individuals need such care they have very limited options outside of the emergency room, which as you know is an inefficient and expensive way to treat patients in non-critical situations.  Project Access, a physician-led community partnership of coordinated charity care providers, offers the region’s low-income and uninsured population with a full range of health care services.


These funds will enable Project Access to continue providing the wide-range of specialty care, laboratory testing, imaging studies, hospital services and many other ancillary health care services throughout the region.  With Spokane’s unemployment rate higher than average, and with more than 60 percent of the unemployed also uninsured, the services provided at Project Access help provide this vulnerable population obtain the care it needs.


Amount Requested: $250,000



Rainier Beach Medical and Dental Clinic – Puget Sound Neighborhood Health Centers dba Neighborcare Health (Seattle, WA)


Southeast Seattle is home to one of the region’s largest Medicaid-eligible populations and is suffering from a disproportionate lack of practicing physicians and dentists.  Neighborcare Health operates the Southeast Family Dental Clinic (SFDC) and the Rainier Beach Medical Clinic (RBMC), which have been providing dental and health care services to Southeast Seattle’s more than 10,000 low-income residents for more than 30 years.  Together these two clinics provide a community of predominantly ethnic and racial minorities with culturally-appropriate critical care, including the regions only emergency dental care clinic.


Recently the SFDC was denied renewal of its lease and is forced to relocate; however, with the new site comes the ability to house both the dental clinic and the medical clinic under one roof.  This will provide the community with a convenient and much needed health care facility to tend to both primary medical and dental care.  Additionally, the new integrated care facility will be able to link thousands of preexisting medical patients with a dental provider.  This will greatly improve the quality and accessibility of health services for the region’s underserved and at-risk communities.


Amount Requested:  $1,000,000



SCCA Regional Network IT – Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (Seattle, WA)


Health care is heavily dependent on accurate, timely access to information.  This is especially true for the ever-evolving field of cancer care.  In order to stay ahead of the information curve, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) is undergoing a project designed to greatly improve its access to information and to enable physicians throughout the entire region to treat patients with up to the date information regarding treatments, protocols, prevention and early detection, quality and regulatory rules, training and education.


This funding will help support the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance’s project to create a regional information technology (IT) network.  This network will provide the SCCA and its network affiliates with the capability to cross-collaborate via interactive video, enhance regional medical education, and establish a “one-stop” web portal to enhance all network members’ access to vital information.  With the use of a fully integrated IT network, the SCCA and its network affiliates will provide their patients with the utmost in timely, coordinated care.


Amount Requested: $537,000



STEM equipment – Whitworth University (Spokane, WA)


The United States is not producing the level of college graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) necessary to meet their increasing demand.  As such, it is vitally important we provide our undergraduate colleges and universities with the tools necessary to recruit students into these subject areas and, once there, provide them with the resources necessary to develop skills for careers in STEM industries.  Whitworth University in eastern Washington has prioritized its output of graduates in science, technology and health care to increase the region’s ability to perform in a 21st Century economy.

This funding will provide Whitworth University with state-of-the-art STEM equipment which will give 2,500 students the ability to participate in supervised lab sessions that are individually tailored to particular courses within the science, technology, engineering and mathematics departments.  The equipment will be located in Whitworth’s Center for Applied Health Science and provide students with the opportunity to learn cutting edge technology skills in a hands-on environment.  This equipment will also provide the University with an increase in student capacity, giving more students the opportunity to pursue an education in the STEM fields. 


Amount Requested:  $400,000



Suicide Prevention Demonstration Project – Colville Indian Reservation (Nespelem, WA)


Suicide is an increasingly dire problem facing the nation.  This is especially true on the Colville Indian Reservation in central Washington state, which has the highest suicide rate of any Indian Tribe in the northwest at 20 times the national average.  In late 2006 the Tribe witnessed a rash of suicide “clusters” on the Reservation spurring the creation of a Suicide Core Team of tribal, state and federal professionals to address this problem through the lens of historical traumas.  As a result, the Suicide Core Team developed a unique, culturally-appropriate approach to identifying the root causes of suicide within the Colville Reservation.


This funding will be used for a two-year demonstration project to evaluate the Suicide Core Team’s effectiveness on a reservation-wide scale.  This project is designed to build community capacity by funding the Suicide Core Team’s members, in conjunction with local and outside professionals, to train individuals in each of the different communities within the Colville Reservation on effective ways to implement the Core Team’s approach.  After this two-year project, the results on the culturally appropriate approach will be disseminated throughout the Portland Northwest Area Indian Health Board for more widespread use.


Amount Requested: $500,000



Urban Indian Health Institute – Seattle Indian Health Board (Seattle, WA)

The Urban Indian Health Institute’s mission is to better understand health disparities through targeted research, data management, and advocacy.  Currently, urban Indians lack such support and evidence shows that grave health disparities continue to plague this mostly invisible population.  This funding will add to our understanding of factors that influence health inequities among Seattle’s urban Indian community. 


Amount Requested: $1,000,000



The Volpentest Pediatric Institute – Kadlec Medical Center (Richland, WA)


The demand for high-quality, intensive care neonatal units far outpaces the supply.  In the mid-Columbia region of Washington state, the existing Children’s Hospital has been functioning overcapacity for some time.  The need for improved and expanded services is clear as the under-18 population is projected to increase as a proportion of the population over the next several years.  The Kadlec Medical Center (KMC) operates the region’s premier pediatric hospital; however the current facilities are aging and falling short of meeting the community’s demand.


This funding will be used to support KMC’s pediatric expansion program.  This program, which is part of the Medical Center’s overall expansion project, will greatly improve the Medical Center’s ability to serve the community’s pediatric care needs.  By doubling the bed-count in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and offering private NICU rooms (which aid in decreasing the spread of infection) the new Pediatric Center will be able to meet the region’s increased pediatric health demands.


Amount Requested: $1,500,000



Youth Build Pilot Project – Educational Service District 112, Youth Workforce Program (Vancouver, WA)


For disadvantaged and at-risk youth, it is often difficult to obtain the necessary skills for high-quality, in-demand jobs.  In southwest Washington state, the Youth Workforce program in Vancouver provides targeted youth ages 16-21 with the ability to learn valuable hands-on training in various high-demand construction jobs throughout the region.  I am requesting $175,000 for the Youth Workforce Program to create a Youth Build Pilot Project to provide regional youth with opportunities to learn in-demand, green construction skills while simultaneously providing the community’s seniors and low-income families with much needed home renovations.

The Youth Build Pilot Project will work from housing requests and referrals from local housing authorities to provide weatherization, rehabilitation and accessibility modifications to low-income and senior housing.  In addition to providing youth with hands-on training from licensed, certified construction experts, this project provides much needed home repairs that increase livability, ensuring families can stay in their homes.  The funding for this project will have a multiplier effect on the community: disadvantaged youth will gain the skills to pursue in-demand, green construction jobs while the area’s low-income families and seniors are afforded the opportunity of refurbished, energy efficient housing.


Amount Requested: $175,000