57th Legislature

                      2001 Regular Session

Passed by the Senate April 18, 2001

  YEAS 42   NAYS 0




President of the Senate


Passed by the House April 17, 2001

  YEAS 95   NAYS 0



I, Tony M. Cook, Secretary of the Senate of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is  ENGROSSED SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL 5583 as passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on the dates hereon set forth.




Speaker of the

      House of Representatives






Speaker of the

      House of Representatives



Approved Place Style On Codes above, and Style Off Codes below. 





Governor of the State of Washington

                   Secretary of State

                  State of Washington






                      AS AMENDED BY THE HOUSE


             Passed Legislature - 2001 Regular Session


State of Washington      57th Legislature     2001 Regular Session


By Senate Committee on Human Services & Corrections (originally sponsored by Senators Long, Hargrove, Stevens, Costa, Carlson, Hewitt, Kohl‑Welles, Franklin, Kastama, Winsley and Regala)



Implementing recommendations of the joint legislative audit and review committee's performance audit of the public mental health system.   

    AN ACT Relating to the implementation of recommendations of the joint legislative audit and review committee's performance audit of the public mental health system; amending RCW 71.24.015 and 71.24.035; creating new sections; and declaring an emergency.




    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  The legislature affirms its support for those recommendations of the performance audit of the public mental health system conducted by the joint legislative audit and review committee relating to:  Improving the coordination of services for clients with multiple needs; improving the consistency of client, service, and fiscal data collected by the mental health division; replacing process-oriented accountability activities with a uniform statewide outcome measurement system; and using outcome information to identify and provide incentives for best practices in the provision of public mental health services.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.  The legislature supports recommendations 1 through 10 and 12 through 14 of the mental health system performance audit conducted by the joint legislative audit and review committee.  The legislature expects the department of social and health services to work diligently within available funds to implement these recommendations.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.  In addition to any follow-up requirements prescribed by the joint legislative audit and review committee, the department of social and health services shall submit reports to the legislature on the status of the implementation of recommendations 1 through 10 and 12 through 14 of the performance audit report.  The implementation status reports must be submitted to appropriate policy and fiscal committees of the legislature by June 1, 2001, and each year thereafter through 2004.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.  The initial implementation status reports must discuss the status of implementing recommendations 1 through 8, which are due to be implemented by June 2001, and must also include a plan for implementing recommendations 9, 10, and 12 through 14, which are due to be implemented subsequent to June 2001.  The initial implementation status report must also discuss what actions the department of social and health services has taken and will take in the future in response to recommendation 11 of the performance audit report.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 5.  The Washington institute for public policy shall conduct a longitudinal study of long-term client outcomes to assess any changes in client status at two, five, and ten years.  The measures tracked shall include client change as a result of services, employment and/or education, housing stability, criminal justice involvement, and level of services needed.  The institute shall report these long-term outcomes to the appropriate policy and fiscal committee of the legislature annually beginning not later than December 31, 2005.


    Sec. 6.  RCW 71.24.015 and 1999 c 214 s 7 are each amended to read as follows:

    It is the intent of the legislature to establish a community mental health program which shall help people experiencing mental illness to retain a respected and productive position in the community.  This will be accomplished through programs which provide for:

    (1) Access to mental health services for adults of the state who are acutely mentally ill, chronically mentally ill, or seriously disturbed and children of the state who are acutely mentally ill, severely emotionally disturbed, or seriously disturbed, which services recognize the special needs of underserved populations, including minorities, children, the elderly, disabled, and low-income persons.  Access to mental health services shall not be limited by a person's history of confinement in a state, federal, or local correctional facility.  It is also the purpose of this chapter to promote the early identification of mentally ill children and to ensure that they receive the mental health care and treatment which is appropriate to their developmental level.  This care should improve home, school, and community functioning, maintain children in a safe and nurturing home environment, and should enable treatment decisions to be made in response to clinical needs in accordance with sound professional judgment while also recognizing parents' rights to participate in treatment decisions for their children;

    (2) Accountability of efficient and effective services through statewide standards for monitoring and reporting of client and system outcome information;

    (3) Minimum service delivery standards;

    (4) Priorities for the use of available resources for the care of the mentally ill;

    (5) Coordination of services within the department, including those divisions within the department that provide services to children, between the department and the office of the superintendent of public instruction, and among state mental hospitals, county authorities, community mental health services, and other support services, which shall to the maximum extent feasible also include the families of the mentally ill, and other service providers; and

    (6) Coordination of services aimed at reducing duplication in service delivery and promoting complementary services among all entities that provide mental health services to adults and children.

    It is the policy of the state to encourage the provision of a full range of treatment and rehabilitation services in the state for mental disorders.  The legislature intends to encourage the development of county-based and county-managed mental health services with adequate local flexibility to assure eligible people in need of care access to the least-restrictive treatment alternative appropriate to their needs, and the availability of treatment components to assure continuity of care.  To this end, counties are encouraged to enter into joint operating agreements with other counties to form regional systems of care which integrate planning, administration, and service delivery duties assigned to counties under chapters 71.05 and 71.24 RCW to consolidate administration, reduce administrative layering, and reduce administrative costs.

    It is further the intent of the legislature to integrate the provision of services to provide continuity of care through all phases of treatment.  To this end the legislature intends to promote active engagement with mentally ill persons and collaboration between families and service providers.


    Sec. 7.  RCW 71.24.035 and 1999 c 10 s 4 are each amended to read as follows:

    (1) The department is designated as the state mental health authority.

    (2) The secretary may provide for public, client, and licensed service provider participation in developing the state mental health program.

    (3) The secretary shall provide for participation in developing the state mental health program for children and other underserved populations, by including representatives on any committee established to provide oversight to the state mental health program.

    (4) The secretary shall be designated as the county authority if a county fails to meet state minimum standards or refuses to exercise responsibilities under RCW 71.24.045.

    (5) The secretary shall:

    (a) Develop a biennial state mental health program that incorporates county biennial needs assessments and county mental health service plans and state services for mentally ill adults and children.  The secretary may also develop a six-year state mental health plan;

    (b) Assure that any county community mental health program provides access to treatment for the county's residents in the following order of priority:  (i) The acutely mentally ill; (ii) chronically mentally ill adults and severely emotionally disturbed children; and (iii) the seriously disturbed.  Such programs shall provide:

    (A) Outpatient services;

    (B) Emergency care services for twenty-four hours per day;

    (C) Day treatment for mentally ill persons which includes training in basic living and social skills, supported work, vocational rehabilitation, and day activities.  Such services may include therapeutic treatment.  In the case of a child, day treatment includes age-appropriate basic living and social skills, educational and prevocational services, day activities, and therapeutic treatment;

    (D) Screening for patients being considered for admission to state mental health facilities to determine the appropriateness of admission;

    (E) Employment services, which may include supported employment, transitional work, placement in competitive employment, and other work-related services, that result in mentally ill persons becoming engaged in meaningful and gainful full or part-time work.  Other sources of funding such as the division of vocational rehabilitation may be utilized by the secretary to maximize federal funding and provide for integration of services;

    (F) Consultation and education services; and

    (G) Community support services;

    (c) Develop and adopt rules establishing state minimum standards for the delivery of mental health services pursuant to RCW 71.24.037 including, but not limited to:

    (i) Licensed service providers;

    (ii) Regional support networks; and

    (iii) Residential and inpatient services, evaluation and treatment services and facilities under chapter 71.05 RCW, resource management services, and community support services;

    (d) Assure that the special needs of minorities, the elderly, disabled, children, and low-income persons are met within the priorities established in this section;

    (e) Establish a standard contract or contracts, consistent with state minimum standards, which shall be used by the counties;

    (f) Establish, to the extent possible, a standardized auditing procedure which minimizes paperwork requirements of county authorities and licensed service providers;

    (g) Develop and maintain an information system to be used by the state, counties, and regional support networks that includes a tracking method which allows the department and regional support networks to identify mental health clients' participation in any mental health service or public program on an immediate basis.  The information system shall not include individual patient's case history files.  Confidentiality of client information and records shall be maintained as provided in this chapter and in RCW 71.05.390, 71.05.400, 71.05.410, 71.05.420, 71.05.430, and 71.05.440;

    (h) License service providers who meet state minimum standards;

    (i) Certify regional support networks that meet state minimum standards;

    (j) Periodically inspect certified regional support networks and licensed service providers at reasonable times and in a reasonable manner;

    (k) Fix fees to be paid by evaluation and treatment centers to the secretary for the required inspections;

    (l) Monitor and audit counties, regional support networks, and licensed service providers as needed to assure compliance with contractual agreements authorized by this chapter; and

    (m) Adopt such rules as are necessary to implement the department's responsibilities under this chapter.

    (6) The secretary shall use available resources only for regional support networks.

    (7) Each certified regional support network and licensed service provider shall file with the secretary, on request, such data, statistics, schedules, and information as the secretary reasonably requires.  A certified regional support network or licensed service provider which, without good cause, fails to furnish any data, statistics, schedules, or information as requested, or files fraudulent reports thereof, may have its certification or license revoked or suspended.

    (8) The secretary may suspend, revoke, limit, or restrict a certification or license, or refuse to grant a certification or license for failure to conform to:  (a) The law; (b) applicable rules and regulations; (c) applicable standards; or (d) state minimum standards.

    (9) The superior court may restrain any regional support network or service provider from operating without certification or a license or any other violation of this section.  The court may also review, pursuant to procedures contained in chapter 34.05 RCW, any denial, suspension, limitation, restriction, or revocation of certification or license, and grant other relief required to enforce the provisions of this chapter.

    (10) Upon petition by the secretary, and after hearing held upon reasonable notice to the facility, the superior court may issue a warrant to an officer or employee of the secretary authorizing him or her to enter at reasonable times, and examine the records, books, and accounts of any regional support network or service provider refusing to consent to inspection or examination by the authority.

    (11) Notwithstanding the existence or pursuit of any other remedy, the secretary may file an action for an injunction or other process against any person or governmental unit to restrain or prevent the establishment, conduct, or operation of a regional support network or service provider without certification or a license under this chapter.

    (12) The standards for certification of evaluation and treatment facilities shall include standards relating to maintenance of good physical and mental health and other services to be afforded persons pursuant to this chapter and chapters 71.05 and 71.34 RCW, and shall otherwise assure the effectuation of the purposes of these chapters.

    (13)(a) The department, in consultation with affected parties, shall establish a distribution formula that reflects county needs assessments based on the number of persons who are acutely mentally ill, chronically mentally ill, severely emotionally disturbed children, and seriously disturbed.  The formula shall take into consideration the impact on counties of demographic factors in counties which result in concentrations of priority populations as set forth in subsection (5)(b) of this section.  These factors shall include the population concentrations resulting from commitments under chapters 71.05 and 71.34 RCW to state psychiatric hospitals, as well as concentration in urban areas, at border crossings at state boundaries, and other significant demographic and workload factors.

    (b) The formula shall also include a projection of the funding allocations that will result for each county, which specifies allocations according to priority populations, including the allocation for services to children and other underserved populations.

    (c) After July 1, 2003, the department may allocate up to two percent of total funds to be distributed to the regional support networks for incentive payments to reward the achievement of superior outcomes, or significantly improved outcomes, as measured by a statewide performance measurement system consistent with the framework recommended in the joint legislative audit and review committee's performance audit of the mental health system.  The department shall annually report to the legislature on its criteria and allocation of the incentives provided under this subsection.

    (14) The secretary shall assume all duties assigned to the nonparticipating counties under chapters 71.05, 71.34, and 71.24 RCW.  Such responsibilities shall include those which would have been assigned to the nonparticipating counties under regional support networks.

    The regional support networks, or the secretary's assumption of all responsibilities under chapters 71.05, 71.34, and 71.24 RCW, shall be included in all state and federal plans affecting the state mental health program including at least those required by this chapter, the medicaid program, and P.L. 99‑660.  Nothing in these plans shall be inconsistent with the intent and requirements of this chapter.

    (15) The secretary shall:

    (a) Disburse funds for the regional support networks within sixty days of approval of the biennial contract.  The department must either approve or reject the biennial contract within sixty days of receipt.

    (b) Enter into biennial contracts with regional support networks.  The contracts shall be consistent with available resources.  No contract shall be approved that does not include progress toward meeting the goals of this chapter by taking responsibility for:  (i) Short-term commitments; (ii) residential care; and (iii) emergency response systems.

    (c) Allocate one hundred percent of available resources to the regional support networks in accordance with subsection (13) of this section.  Incentive payments authorized under subsection (13) of this section may be allocated separately from other available resources.

    (d) Notify regional support networks of their allocation of available resources at least sixty days prior to the start of a new biennial contract period.

    (e) Deny funding allocations to regional support networks based solely upon formal findings of noncompliance with the terms of the regional support network's contract with the department.  Written notice and at least thirty days for corrective action must precede any such action.  In such cases, regional support networks shall have full rights to appeal under chapter 34.05 RCW.

    (f) Identify in its departmental biennial operating and capital budget requests the funds requested by regional support networks to implement their responsibilities under this chapter.

    (16) The department, in cooperation with the state congressional delegation, shall actively seek waivers of federal requirements and such modifications of federal regulations as are necessary to allow federal medicaid reimbursement for services provided by free-standing evaluation and treatment facilities certified under chapter 71.05 RCW.  The department shall periodically report its efforts to the health care and corrections committee of the senate and the human services committee of the house of representatives.

    (17) The secretary shall establish a task force to examine the recruitment, training, and compensation of qualified mental health professionals in the community, which shall include the advantages and disadvantages of establishing a training academy, loan forgiveness program, or educational stipends offered in exchange for commitments of employment in mental health.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 8.  The legislature finds that an excessive amount of public funds are spent on administrative activities in the community mental health system.  The department of social and health services shall develop a plan to reduce administrative expenses in the community mental health system, including the mental health division, to no more than ten percent of available funds.  The plan shall identify and prioritize core administrative functions that must be continued to comply with federal or state statutes.  The department shall submit their plan to the appropriate committees of the senate and house of representatives no later than December 15, 2001.  The plan shall assume an implementation date of July 1, 2003.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 9.  If specific funding for the purposes of section 5 of this act, referencing section 5 of this act by bill or chapter and section number, is not provided by June 30, 2001, in the omnibus appropriations act, section 5 of this act is null and void.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 10.  This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately.


                            --- END ---