OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – Washington legislators took substantial steps to reshape the mental-health system, including funding for new facilities, legislation to increase the number of qualified workers, and the creation of new types of treatment centers.
The Seattle Times reports that lawmakers approved the plan – which sprawls across two different state budgets, as well as several other bills – in the legislative session that ended April 28.
The work comes after years of court orders and federal inspections that meticulously documented the poor treatment of psychiatric patients in the state’s care, as well as a steep shortage of treatment beds and staffers to operate them.
It remains to be seen how the complex plan comes together in the coming years. Grants will have to be awarded, facilities sited, permitted and built, and staff must be found to run them.