October 17, 2018
Tara Lee | tara.lee@gov.wa.gov
360.902.4136

Inslee works to improve Washington’s behavioral health system

Gov. Jay nslee traveled to Wenatchee and Everett this week to promote his five-year plan to create small, community-based behavioral health facilities that ensure that people are treated near their family and friends.

Inslee is working with legislators to change Washington's behavioral health system. Washington currently has two large state hospitals, Western State and Eastern State, and under Inslee’s plan they will continue focusing on serving forensic — or court-ordered — and hard-to-place civil commitment patients. Other civil commitment patients will be served in new, 16-bed regional hospitals run by the state and other community-based care facilities.

In Wenatchee the governor visited Parkside, a new behavioral health treatment facility. Parkside will treat clients throughout the North Central Accountable Community of Health Region in Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties. Inslee then toured Medical Unit 1, the behavioral unit at Central Washington Hospital.

MU1 has successfully increased collaboration between community partners, which ultimately provides better outcomes for patients. The partnership includes Confluence Health, Catholic Charities, additional local behavioral health and substance abuse providers, law enforcement, jail officials, county prosecutors, local judges and public defenders.

In Everett, the governor spoke to family members and individuals with lived experience in navigating the behavioral health system. Inslee then visited Sunrise, a new 16-bed group home for those stable enough to be released from state hospitals, but who still need round-the-clock care. The governor heard from providers and staff ahead of patients being admitted later this fall. 

“In Wenatchee and Everett, I saw dedicated professional staff who want the very best for these patients. Medical professionals, law enforcement and local elected officials and community leaders recognize that patients do better when they are able to stay in their own community, close to family and friends,” Inslee said.

Read the rest of the story on the governor's Medium page.