Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘Research & Reports’ Category

Few births in Washington outside of marriage; 5th lowest rate

by Matt Rosenberg May 7th, 2013

Washington state has one of the lowest rates of out-of-wedlock births in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau. A new report issued in May 2013 says that in the most recent year for which detailed American Community Survey data on the subject are available – 2011 – 35.7 percent of births nationwide were to unmarried women. In Washington, the rate was just 27.7 percent or fifth lowest overall, but it ranged widely within the state by metro region. Tri-Cities and Bremerton were far below the national average, while greater Seattle, Olympia and Bellingham were somewhat below it. Spokane was slightly below the national average, Wenatchee above it, and Longview and Yakima far in excess of it. State-by-state, the only ones with lower overall rates than Washington were Utah, New Hampshire, Montana and Nebraska. They ranged from 14.7 percent to 25.3 percent. It matters, say the authors of the report, because children born outside of marriage are more likely to be raised in poverty, and have poor developmental and behavioral outcomes.

State audit says Monroe public hospital district mismanaged – it now pledges reforms, and seeks tax hike in April vote

by Matt Rosenberg April 3rd, 2013

Voters on April 23 will decide whether to increase tax levy support for Valley General Hospital in Monroe and associated clinics in Snohomish County Public Hospital District #1, north and east of Seattle. But the system has not only been undercharging its funders, as supporters emphasize; it has also been wasteful and poorly managed, as detailed in a new accountability report from Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley.

U.S. inpatient death rates down, but not for blood infections

by Matt Rosenberg April 2nd, 2013

A recent data brief from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that inpatient hospital death rates are down 20 percent from 2000 to 2010 overall, and down markedly in that time for seven of eight major “first-listed diagnoses” with the notable exception of septicemia, or infections of the bloodstream. The overall death rate for U.S. hospital inpatients dropped from 2.5 per 100 patients in 2000 to 2.2 in 2005 and 2.0 in 2010. Death rates per 100 patients hospitalized for first-listed diagnosis were also down sharply for respiratory failure, pnuemonitis due to solids and liquids, pneumonia, kidney disease, cancer, stroke, and heart disease. But for septicemia, inpatient deaths grew 17 percent – from 13.9 per 100 patients hospitalized for that diagnosis in 2000, to 16.3 per 100 such patients in 2010.

Citizen Panel: Sound Transit Needs To Tighten It Up

by Matt Rosenberg March 1st, 2013

In its year-end 2012 Performance Report, presented Thursday at the monthly Sound Transit board meeting in Seattle, ST’s Citizen Oversight Panel took the regional transit agency to task for poor operating cost controls and questionable resource allocation choices, while revenues are 30 percent lower than expected. The COP says in its report that with the Great Recession having smacked down projected ST 2 revenues by nearly a third, Sound Transit needs to clamp down on growth in day-to-day costs such as a planned 9 percent bump in transit operations spending in 2013, and what has been an ongoing five percent average growth rate for agency operating costs. That includes overhead and a particular sore point, security.

State details $352,000 public fraud in Lake Forest Park

by Matt Rosenberg February 20th, 2013

The former Office Administrator of a sleepy public water district in a Seattle bedroom suburb allegedly embezzled at least $352,641 from taxpayer coffers from mid-2004 to early 2011 through misuse of multiple credit cards, unwarranted reimbursements and a mostly-fake payroller scheme involving three of her children, whom she also enrolled as beneficiaries in a state retirement system for public workers. Those findings and more about the Lake Forest Park Water District are detailed in a fraud report issued Tuesday by Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley. The former Office Administrator is identified by the auditor’s office as Jackee Zweekhorst. Zweekhorst, 40, of Bothell, was one of two higher-level employees for the district but reported only to an inattentive three-member board of supervisors. She kept the financial records under lock and key and effectively had no oversight, according to the fraud report.

New report: State $1.4 billion shy for SR 167 extension

by Matt Rosenberg February 18th, 2013

A new report to the legislature says Washington state is currently $1.43 billion short of what it would take to complete a crucial six-lane, six-mile partially-tolled extension of State Route 167 from Meridian Avenue in Puyallup across Interstate 5 to Port of Tacoma Road and State Route 509. According to the report just issued by the Washington State Department of Transportation, another $1.5 billion is needed for right-of-way purchases, securing permits and building the project, but only $65 million could be raised over 30 years through current plans to electronically toll one lane in each direction. Combined with a long laundry list of other road and transit needs statewide, the findings add to already considerable pressure for lawmakers to approve some sort of transportation funding package in Olympia this session.

Washington near top, again, in prescription pain pill misuse

by Matt Rosenberg February 12th, 2013

For the second time in a row, Washington ranks in the top five among 50 U.S. states in the percent of people aged 12 and older who reported having misused prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet or codeine in the last year by taking them without a prescription or “simply for the experience or feeling the drug caused.” That’s according to newly published findings for 2010-2011 from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an ongoing gauge of various concerns which also revealed last fall that from 2008 through 2010 Seattle ranked second out of 33 U.S. metropolitan regions in suicide attempts.