2019 Legislative Session Update

The 2019 Legislative Session showed a common agreement to prioritize behavioral health. The session focus aimed at transforming Washington's behavioral health system by addressing workforce needs, increasing community-based treatment options, funding for new and existing facilities, furthering behavioral health integration, and state hospital improvement. 

Workforce Needs

Policy & Budget

  • E2SHB 1593:  Establishing a behavioral health innovation and integration campus within the University of Washington school of medicine

  • $33 million in Capital Budget for pre-design for new teaching hospital at University of Washington

  • 2SHB 1668: Student loan repayment program for behavioral health workers who take jobs in underserved areas

Community-based Treatment Options


  • 2SHB 1394: Creates additional community-based treatment options

  • E2SSB 5444: Trueblood Settlement Resolution.

  • Goal: Move patients committed to state hospitals through civil commitments into community facilities.  Have state hospitals focus on patients with criminal commitments.


  • $83 million for increased community-based capacity, programs and rates.

  • $74 million increase for a settlement in the Trueblood litigation.

  • $17 million increase for substance abuse disorder related items

Funding for New Facilities

Capital Budget

Community-Based Behavioral Health Beds ($119.9 million)

  • The Department of Commerce is provided $47 million for a competitive process to expand community-based behavioral health services.

  • $70.9 million is provided for community-based projects for a variety of behavioral health services including long-term civil commitments, triage, crisis diversion, detox, and adolescent services.

  • Also, $24 million in the Housing Trust Fund for Residential Treatment Options.

  • $25 million for predesign, design, siting, and site work of two state constructed community civil bed facilities; one providing 16 state operated civil beds and one providing 48 mixed-use beds of which 16 beds would be state operated civil beds.

Capital Budget Funds for BHT Region

$400,000 CHAS Spokane
$4,523,000 Colville SUD Facility
$2,000,000 Spokane Crisis Stabilization

$6,923,000 TOTAL

Further Behavioral Health Integration

Policy & Budget

  • E2SSB 5432: Relates to Behavioral Health Integration by Jan. 1, 2020

  • $35 million in savings related to Behavioral Health Organization reserves.  This amount totals $75 million when including the supplemental budget.

State Hospital Improvements

  • $58 million for patient safety enhancements, preservation, and ward renovations at Eastern State Hospital and Western State Hospital;

  • $1 million for predesign and siting of a new forensic hospital;

  • $28.7 million for construction of two new forensic wards providing 60 additional forensic beds at Western State Hospital;

  • $8 million for a new Treatment and Recovery Center at Western State Hospital