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Thread: Email from Valley Medical Center regarding Hospital Policy

  1. #1
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    Email from Valley Medical Center regarding Hospital Policy

    I sent an email to Valley Medical Center a couple of weeks ago, telling them that I found their "No Firearms" policy ridiculous. His email didn't touch any topics that I mentioned in my email. Especially the ones regarding "The bad guys don't care about policies."

    Here's the email:




    "Dear Mr. Braun:



    By way of introduction, my name is Jeff Dosch, Security Manager for Valley Medical Center.



    We appreciate you contacting us regarding Valley Medical Center’s Weapons Free Policy. This policy is designed to help ensure that the delivery of service to our patients occurs in a safe environment, and to enhance workplace safety for Valley Medical Center employees.



    We are sorry you felt offended that the policy also applies to those who may be licensed to legally carry a concealed weapon, however Valley Medical Center has a huge public safety protection issue with the multitude of patients here at any given time. Similar policies are enforced throughout healthcare facilities in Washington State, and we believe that notification of the Weapons Free Policy demonstrates our commitment to providing care in the safest environment possible.





    Respectfully,





    Jeff Dosch, Security Manager

    Valley Medical Center

    425-228-3440 ext. 5976"

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    Regular Member john-in-reno's Avatar
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    Cool, The Buses in Seattle, and this hospital are safe!! NOT!!
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    Regular Member FMCDH's Avatar
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    What else would you expect them to say?

    Their insurance company most likely would require them to have such a policy, regardless of if the hospital believed it would be effective or not.

    Their policy is pure lip service to the common public perception that a policy on paper is as good as action.

    Any hospital that accepts my tax money in any part for its operating costs doesn't get to dictate against my individual rights as if its private property, as far as I'm concerned, especially when they cant provide a guarantee of my safety on their property as a part of that policy.

    Their policy will never change as long as public perception of "gun free zones" is controlled by emotion rather than reason.

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    Regular Member j2l3's Avatar
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    Valley medical Center is a PUBLIC HEALTH DISTRICT. Their board is elected. I believe they receive public funding.

    This would make them subject to state preemption I would think. Any actual lawyers on the board who would like to venture an unofficial opinion?

    What's a Public Hospital District?

    Public hospital districts are governmental entities established by Washington State statute. The legislature granted local communities the authority to create hospital districts in 1945. Today, nearly one-half of Washington's 90 hospitals are part of public hospital districts. Valley Medical Center—Public Hospital District No. 1—is the oldest and largest in Washington, encompassing the cities of Kent, Renton, two-thirds of Tukwila, and portions of Auburn, Black Diamond, Covington, Federal Way, Maple Valley, Newcastle and Seattle. The oldest and largest of the 56 hospital districts in the state of Washington, it operates Valley Medical Center, serving greater South King County.

    Public hospital districts fulfill a vital role in the state's healthcare system. Without them many people would be unable to receive healthcare in their own communities. Hospital districts are authorized not only to operate a hospital, but to deliver any service to help people stay healthy—physically, socially, and mentally. Because they're owned and governed by local citizens, hospital districts tailor their services to meet the unique needs of their individual communities. It is this community-based mission that defines and distinguishes hospital districts from other healthcare entities.
    Last edited by j2l3; 12-17-2010 at 05:15 PM.
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    ^

    Good question. I'd be interested in hearing some opinions on that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by j2l3 View Post
    Valley medical Center is a PUBLIC HEALTH DISTRICT. Their board is elected. I believe they receive public funding.

    This would make them subject to state preemption I would think. Any actual lawyers on the board who would like to venture an unofficial opinion?

    What's a Public Hospital District?

    Public hospital districts are governmental entities established by Washington State statute. The legislature granted local communities the authority to create hospital districts in 1945. Today, nearly one-half of Washington's 90 hospitals are part of public hospital districts. Valley Medical Center—Public Hospital District No. 1—is the oldest and largest in Washington, encompassing the cities of Kent, Renton, two-thirds of Tukwila, and portions of Auburn, Black Diamond, Covington, Federal Way, Maple Valley, Newcastle and Seattle. The oldest and largest of the 56 hospital districts in the state of Washington, it operates Valley Medical Center, serving greater South King County.

    Public hospital districts fulfill a vital role in the state's healthcare system. Without them many people would be unable to receive healthcare in their own communities. Hospital districts are authorized not only to operate a hospital, but to deliver any service to help people stay healthy—physically, socially, and mentally. Because they're owned and governed by local citizens, hospital districts tailor their services to meet the unique needs of their individual communities. It is this community-based mission that defines and distinguishes hospital districts from other healthcare entities.
    I do not believe they do. The preemption statute does not restrict any kind of district from enacting rules that restrict firearms. It only restricts Cities, Counties, Towns, and other municipalities, none of which a public hospital district falls under.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

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    Regular Member j2l3's Avatar
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    Understood, however, since the district is created by the local communities, is it part of that community and therefore subject to the same rules?

    It isn't created by the state, the legislation just allows communities to create them.

    I don't know but it would sure be nice to know.
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    Campaign Veteran ak56's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeroket View Post
    I do not believe they do. The preemption statute does not restrict any kind of district from enacting rules that restrict firearms. It only restricts Cities, Counties, Towns, and other municipalities, none of which a public hospital district falls under.
    They are a municipal corporation, just like libraries. Preemption should apply.

    RCW 70.44.010
    Districts authorized.
    Municipal corporations, to be known as public hospital districts, are hereby authorized and may be established within the several counties of the state as hereinafter provided
    .
    No right is held more sacred, or is more carefully guarded, by the common law than the right of every individual to the possession and control of his own person, free from all restraint or interference of others, unless by clear and unquestionable authority of law. Union Pacific Rail Co. vs Botsford as quoted in Terry v Ohio.


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    Regular Member j2l3's Avatar
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    Nice catch ak56!
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    Time for another email..


    Mr. Dosch,

    I thank you for taking the time to respond to my inquiry regarding firearms on hospital property. I understand the policy, however, after doing some research, there are a few things I wanted to further inquire on. Is Valley Medical Center a Public Health District, with elected board members that receives public funding? Do you know if Valley Medical Center is a corporation, created by a municipality - similar to Public Libraries?
    From my research,
    RCW 70.44.010 States:

    "Districts authorized.
    Municipal corporations, to be known as public hospital districts, are hereby authorized and may be established within the several counties of the state as hereinafter provided "

    If Valley Medical Center falls under a "Municipal Corporation", then the State Preemption would apply.
    Washington State Preemption can be found under
    RCW 9.41.290 and reads:

    "The state of Washington hereby fully occupies and preempts the entire field of firearms regulation within the boundaries of the state, including the registration, licensing, possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, discharge, and transportation of firearms, or any other element relating to firearms or parts thereof, including ammunition and reloader components. Cities, towns, and counties or other municipalities may enact only those laws and ordinances relating to firearms that are specifically authorized by state law, as in RCW 9.41.300, and are consistent with this chapter. Such local ordinances shall have the same penalty as provided for by state law. Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality."

    With this information, it would seem that the "No Firearms" policy would be against RCW 9.41.290 as public hospitals are not one of the "off limits" areas for firearm carry under RCW 9.41.300. If possible, I would like to request a review of this policy by board members of Valley Medical Center. My goal is not to create an inconvenience, but if this policy is not in line with State Law, I would like to see proper action taken, or if possible, speak with someone responsible for hospital rules and regulations.

    Thank you again for your time,

    Aaron Braun
    Last edited by Aaron1124; 12-17-2010 at 11:56 PM.

  11. #11
    Opt-Out Members BigDave's Avatar
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    I think your dog is barking up the wrong tree and can end up with negative results, why not just go concealed in a hospital and leave it alone?

    Valley Medical Center is the largest nonprofit healthcare provider between Seattle and Tacoma, operating a full-service hospital, Emergency Room and Level III Trauma Center, and more than two dozen primary care, walk-in urgent care and specialty clinics throughout Southeast King County.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDave View Post
    I think your dog is barking up the wrong tree and can end up with negative results, why not just go concealed in a hospital and leave it alone?

    Valley Medical Center is the largest nonprofit healthcare provider between Seattle and Tacoma, operating a full-service hospital, Emergency Room and Level III Trauma Center, and more than two dozen primary care, walk-in urgent care and specialty clinics throughout Southeast King County.
    If this is a policy that is not in compliance (which it may not be, according to what I've read) then I'd like to see it repealed. If it is in compliance, then I do not see any harm being done by pushing the issue to someone in charge.

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    Regular Member FMCDH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1124 View Post
    If this is a policy that is not in compliance (which it may not be, according to what I've read) then I'd like to see it repealed. If it is in compliance, then I do not see any harm being done by pushing the issue to someone in charge.
    Remember to approach with a liability warning. Nothing gets an organizations lawyers or board of directors to sit up and pay attention to detail like the word liability.

    If they attempt to enforce a policy that is against state law, they could open themselves up to lawsuit and or bad PR, especially if someone was to get hurt as a direct result of it.

    Its worked with most cities and counties that have stonewalled on this type of thing in the past.

  14. #14
    Opt-Out Members BigDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1124 View Post
    If this is a policy that is not in compliance (which it may not be, according to what I've read) then I'd like to see it repealed. If it is in compliance, then I do not see any harm being done by pushing the issue to someone in charge.
    I do not think you will be able to stretch a concept that they are a public owned entity that would come into play in State Preemption. A lot more digging needs to be done into this venture before being in your face attitudes.
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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Aaron, are you ready for another "Form Letter". Never expect much more from a public entity. They have to get permission from an Attorney or "Risk Manager" before they are even allowed to "flush twice". Ditto for answering public inquiries.

    They'll tell you more on the phone, if they bother to answer, because then they don't have to worry about a "piece of paper" ending up in court later. As for recording a phone call, be very careful. If you comply with the law in Washington and advise, they'll probably just say "goodbye".
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    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    Aaron, are you ready for another "Form Letter". Never expect much more from a public entity. They have to get permission from an Attorney or "Risk Manager" before they are even allowed to "flush twice". Ditto for answering public inquiries.

    They'll tell you more on the phone, if they bother to answer, because then they don't have to worry about a "piece of paper" ending up in court later. As for recording a phone call, be very careful. If you comply with the law in Washington and advise, they'll probably just say "goodbye".
    You're probably right, but I felt it was worth a shot. I already tried calling, and I kept getting transferred. No one seemed to know anything.

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1124 View Post
    No one seemed to know anything.
    And there you go. The real truth.
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

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    Campaign Veteran OlGutshotWilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDave View Post
    I do not think you will be able to stretch a concept that they are a public owned entity that would come into play in State Preemption. A lot more digging needs to be done into this venture before being in your face attitudes.
    David,
    Are you just plain nuts? "Stretch a concept that they are a public owned entity??"

    Overview and Purpose of Public Hospital Districts

    Public hospital districts belong to the Washington state family of special purpose districts and are organized as municipal corporations. They are governmental entities created by statute and operating under all applicable statutory, constitutional and regulatory provisions of the State of Washington and the United States of America.

    Sources of Public Hospital District Power

    Public hospital districts are organized and exist as a result of chapter 70.44 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). It is this statute that created public hospital districts and fundamentally defines their purpose, operations, powers and limitations.
    As you specifically bolded the type above to highlight "nonprofit Healthcare provider" in your post above I would suggest you read the differences in Public Hospital districts vs nonprofit Healthcare providers as below.

    In contrast to not-for-profit entities, public hospital districts are subject to numerous statutory provisions governing how they conduct their business. For example, public hospital district are governed by commissioners who are publicly elected (not-for-profit members are normally appointed). State law imposes strict limitations on the use of public hospital district funds. Also, as ‘municipal corporations’, public hospital districts are subject to the Public Records Act and the Open Public Meetings Act which provide the vehicle for public scrutiny of key documents and proceedings. Not-for-profit activities are monitored in a much more general fashion through state and federal review activities.
    All info cited here: http://awphd.org/About/about_whatare.aspx

    Also go here: http://www.evergreenhospital.org/phd

    I rather like this quote as well:
    To understand the limits of a public hospital district’s power, it can be useful to understand that districts cannot make law; they can only act based on state and federal law. This distinction may prove useful in thinking about a specific activity of a public hospital district.
    Personally, I have always thought this was an open carry forum. It would seem to me to argue to
    why not just go concealed in a hospital and leave it alone?
    might be better argued in a different forum.

    Now, from reading all this, it would seem that State Preemption would apply.
    Last edited by OlGutshotWilly; 12-19-2010 at 01:26 AM. Reason: added content
    THE SECOND AMENDMENT: Washington didn't use his right to free speech to defeat the British, he shot them.
    ---------------------------------------------
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    --George Washington,
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    Opt-Out Members BigDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by n15wb View Post
    David,
    Are you just plain nuts? "Stretch a concept that they are a public owned entity??"

    As you specifically bolded the type above to highlight "nonprofit Healthcare provider" in your post above I would suggest you read the differences in Public Hospital districts vs nonprofit Healthcare providers as below.

    All info cited here: http://awphd.org/About/about_whatare.aspx

    Also go here: http://www.evergreenhospital.org/phd

    I rather like this quote as well:
    Personally, I have always thought this was an open carry forum. It would seem to me to argue to might be better argued in a different forum.
    Now, from reading all this, it would seem that State Preemption would apply.
    If you noticed in what I posted as well "A lot more digging needs to be done into this venture before being in your face attitudes. "

    So thanks for the references.
    • Being prepared is to prepare, this is our responsibility.
    • I am not your Mommy or Daddy and do not sugar coat it but I will tell you simply as how I see it, it is up to you on how you will or will not use it.
    • IANAL, all information I present is for your review, do your own homework.

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    Campaign Veteran OlGutshotWilly's Avatar
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    You are welcome.

    I tried to do the digging, and my "in your face attitude" was civil with only a "hint" of incredulity.

    Cheers.
    THE SECOND AMENDMENT: Washington didn't use his right to free speech to defeat the British, he shot them.
    ---------------------------------------------
    Government is not reason; it is not eloquent -- it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
    --George Washington,
    first U.S. president

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    Those are all good arguments guys. I may just have to change my stance that preemption most likely does apply to public hospital districts. The unfortunate thing is that they are going to stick with the stance that they are required by law to promulgate rules that create a safe and non-hostile atmosphere for the public and employees. It will not change until it gets fought in court.
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    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeroket
    ... they are going to stick with the stance that they are required by law to promulgate rules that create a safe and non-hostile atmosphere for the public and employees.
    Even though the current atmosphere isn't safe, and is hostile to some guests & employees?

    If there was discussion prior to this thread, I haven't seen it, so please forgive the question: Does the hospital have metal detectors & guards at all of its entrances?
    If not, then they're not a "weapons free zone" by any stretch of the imagination, & have opened themselves up to liability for injury or death for people who would otherwise be able to protect themselves but were barred from doing so by the hospital policy.

    BTW, from what I've read here it sure looks like the current policy is against the law. Be interesting to see what happens next.
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    Campaign Veteran OlGutshotWilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MKEgal View Post
    Even though the current atmosphere isn't safe, and is hostile to some guests & employees?

    If there was discussion prior to this thread, I haven't seen it, so please forgive the question: Does the hospital have metal detectors & guards at all of its entrances?
    If not, then they're not a "weapons free zone" by any stretch of the imagination, & have opened themselves up to liability for injury or death for people who would otherwise be able to protect themselves but were barred from doing so by the hospital policy.

    BTW, from what I've read here it sure looks like the current policy is against the law. Be interesting to see what happens next.
    No Hospitals in the King/Snohomish/Pierce counties have metal detectors or guards at all entrances.
    None of them are Weapon free zones. It is an illusion. It's the old "out of site, out of mind" theory.
    THE SECOND AMENDMENT: Washington didn't use his right to free speech to defeat the British, he shot them.
    ---------------------------------------------
    Government is not reason; it is not eloquent -- it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
    --George Washington,
    first U.S. president

  24. #24
    Opt-Out Members BigDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MKEgal View Post
    Even though the current atmosphere isn't safe, and is hostile to some guests & employees?

    If there was discussion prior to this thread, I haven't seen it, so please forgive the question: Does the hospital have metal detectors & guards at all of its entrances?
    If not, then they're not a "weapons free zone" by any stretch of the imagination, & have opened themselves up to liability for injury or death for people who would otherwise be able to protect themselves but were barred from doing so by the hospital policy.

    BTW, from what I've read here it sure looks like the current policy is against the law. Be interesting to see what happens next.
    This statement has been boasted many many times in many different forums "& have opened themselves up to liability for injury or death for people who would otherwise be able to protect themselves but were barred from doing so by the hospital policy. " and yet I have never heard of one lawsuit to support such a stance, have you?
    Last edited by BigDave; 12-19-2010 at 09:14 AM.
    • Being prepared is to prepare, this is our responsibility.
    • I am not your Mommy or Daddy and do not sugar coat it but I will tell you simply as how I see it, it is up to you on how you will or will not use it.
    • IANAL, all information I present is for your review, do your own homework.

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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by n15wb View Post
    David,
    Are you just plain nuts?


    Personally, I have always thought this was an open carry forum. It would seem to me to argue to might be better argued in a different forum.

    Now, from reading all this, it would seem that State Preemption would apply.
    Good points and don't worry about "Big" Dave, he doesn't open carry and takes great care to make sure no one knows he's carrying.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

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