RCW 74.09.495

Access to children's behavioral health servicesReport to legislature.

(1) To better assure and understand issues related to network adequacy and access to services, the authority shall report to the appropriate committees of the legislature by December 1, 2017, and annually thereafter, on the status of access to behavioral health services for children from birth through age seventeen using data collected pursuant to RCW 70.320.050.
(2) At a minimum, the report must include the following components broken down by age, gender, and race and ethnicity:
(a) The percentage of discharges for patients ages six through seventeen who had a visit to the emergency room with a primary diagnosis of mental health or alcohol or other drug dependence during the measuring year and who had a follow-up visit with any provider with a corresponding primary diagnosis of mental health or alcohol or other drug dependence within thirty days of discharge;
(b) The percentage of health plan members with an identified mental health need who received mental health services during the reporting period;
(c) The percentage of children served by behavioral health administrative services organizations and managed care organizations, including the types of services provided;
(d) The number of children's mental health providers available in the previous year, the languages spoken by those providers, and the overall percentage of children's mental health providers who were actively accepting new patients; and
(e) Data related to mental health and medical services for eating disorder treatment in children and youth by county, including the number of:
(i) Eating disorder diagnoses;
(ii) Patients treated in outpatient, residential, emergency, and inpatient care settings; and
(iii) Contracted providers specializing in eating disorder treatment and the overall percentage of those providers who were actively accepting new patients during the reporting period.
[ 2019 c 325 § 4002; 2018 c 175 § 3; 2017 c 226 § 6; 2017 c 202 § 3; 2016 c 96 § 3.]

NOTES:

Effective date2019 c 325: See note following RCW 71.24.011.
FindingsIntent2018 c 175: "The legislature finds that the children's mental health work group established in chapter 96, Laws of 2016 reported recommendations in December 2016 related to increasing access to adequate, appropriate, and culturally and linguistically relevant mental health services for children and youth. The legislature further finds that legislation implementing many of the recommendations of the children's mental health work group was enacted in 2017. Despite these gains, barriers to service remain and additional work is required to assist children with securing adequate mental health treatment. The legislature further finds that by January 1, 2020, the community behavioral health program must be fully integrated in a managed care health system that provides behavioral and physical health care services to medicaid clients. Therefore, it is the intent of the legislature to reestablish the children's mental health work group through December 2020 and to implement additional recommendations from the work group in order to improve mental health care access for children and their families." [ 2018 c 175 § 1.]
Sustainable solutions for the integration of behavioral and physical health2017 c 226: See note following RCW 74.09.497.
FindingsIntent2017 c 202: "The legislature finds that children and their families face systemic barriers to accessing necessary mental health services. These barriers include a workforce shortage of mental health providers throughout the system of care. Of particular concern are shortages of providers in underserved rural areas of our state and a shortage of providers statewide who can deliver culturally and linguistically appropriate services. The legislature further finds that greater coordination across systems, including early learning, K-12 education, and health care, is necessary to provide children and their families with coordinated care.
The legislature further finds that until mental health and physical health services are fully integrated in the year 2020, children who are eligible for medicaid services and require mental health treatment should receive coordinated mental health and physical health services to the fullest extent possible.
The legislature further finds that in 2013, the department of social and health services and the health care authority reported that only forty percent of the children on medicaid who had mental health treatment needs were receiving services and that mental health treatment needs increase with the number of adverse childhood experiences that a child has undergone.
The legislature further finds that children with mental health service needs have higher rates of emergency room use, criminal justice system involvement, and an increased risk of homelessness, and that trauma-informed care can mitigate some of these negative outcomes.
Therefore, the legislature intends to implement recommendations from the children's mental health work group, as reported in December 2016, in order to improve mental health care access for children and their families through the early learning, K-12 education, and health care systems. The legislature further intends to encourage providers to use behavioral health therapies and other therapies that are empirically supported or evidence-based and only prescribe medications for children and youth as a last resort." [ 2017 c 202 § 1.]
FindingsIntent2016 c 96: "(1) The legislature understands that adverse childhood experiences, such as family mental health issues, substance abuse, serious economic hardship, and domestic violence, all increase the likelihood of developmental delays and later health and mental health problems. The legislature further understands that early intervention services for children and families at high risk for adverse childhood experience help build secure parent-child attachment and bonding, which allows young children to thrive and form strong relationships in the future. The legislature finds that early identification and intervention are critical for children exhibiting aggressive or depressive behaviors indicative of early mental health problems. The legislature intends to improve access to adequate, appropriate, and culturally responsive mental health services for children and youth. The legislature further intends to encourage the use of behavioral health therapies and other therapies that are empirically supported or evidence-based and only prescribe medications for children and youth as a last resort.
(2) The legislature finds that nearly half of Washington's children are enrolled in medicaid and have a higher incidence of serious health problems compared to children who have commercial insurance. The legislature recognizes that disparities also exist in the diagnosis and initiation of treatment services for children of color, with studies demonstrating that children of color are diagnosed and begin receiving early interventions at a later age. The legislature finds that within the current system of care, families face barriers to receiving a full range of services for children experiencing behavioral health problems. The legislature intends to identify what network adequacy requirements, if strengthened, would increase access, continuity, and coordination of behavioral health services for children and families. The legislature further intends to encourage managed care plans and behavioral health organizations to contract with the same providers that serve children so families are not required to duplicate mental health screenings, and to recommend provider rates for mental health services to children and youth which will ensure an adequate network and access to quality based care.
(3) The legislature recognizes that early and accurate recognition of behavioral health issues coupled with appropriate and timely intervention enhances health outcomes while minimizing overall expenditures. The legislature intends to assure that annual depression screenings are done consistently with the highly vulnerable medicaid population and that children and families benefit from earlier access to services." [ 2016 c 96 § 1.]