74.09.492  <<  74.09.495 >>   74.09.497

RCW 74.09.495

Behavioral health services—Access by children—Report.

To better assure and understand issues related to network adequacy and access to services, the authority and the department 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 birth through age seventeen using data collected pursuant to RCW 70.320.050.
(1) 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; and
(c) The percentage of children served by behavioral health organizations, including the types of services provided.
(2) The report must also include 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.
NOTES:
Sustainable solutions for the integration of behavioral and physical health2017 c 226: See note following RCW 74.09.497.
FindingsIntent2017 c 202: See note following RCW 74.09.492.
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.]
Reviser's note: The language in bold print was a part of the underlying Session Law but was inadvertently omitted from the original publication of this section in the Revised Code of Washington. The Code Reviser has restored the language to accurately reflect the law.
Children's mental health work group2016 c 96: "(1) The children's mental health work group is established to identify barriers to accessing mental health services for children and families, and to advise the legislature on statewide mental health services for this population.
(2)(a) The work group shall include diverse, statewide representation from the public and nonprofit and for-profit entities. Its membership shall reflect regional, racial, and cultural diversity to adequately represent the needs of all children and families in the state.
(b) The work group shall consist of not more than twenty-five members, as follows:
(i) The president of the senate shall appoint one member and one alternative member from each of the two largest caucuses of the senate.
(ii) The speaker of the house of representatives shall appoint one member and one alternative member from each of the two largest caucuses in the house of representatives.
(iii) The governor shall appoint at least one representative from each of the following: The *department of early learning, the department of social and health services, the health care authority, the department of health, and a representative of the governor.
(iv) The superintendent of public instruction shall appoint one representative from the office of the superintendent of public instruction.
(v) The governor shall request participation by a representative of tribal governments.
(vi) The governor shall appoint one representative from each of the following: Behavioral health organizations, community mental health agencies, medicaid managed care organizations, pediatricians or primary care providers, providers that specialize in early childhood mental health, child health advocacy groups, early learning and child care providers, the managed health care plan for foster children, the evidence-based practice institute, parents or caregivers who have been a recipient of early childhood mental health services, and foster parents.
(c) The work group shall seek input and participation from stakeholders interested in the improvement of statewide mental health services for children and families.
(d) The work group shall choose two cochairs, one from among its legislative membership and one representative of a state agency. The representative from the health care authority shall convene the initial meeting of the work group.
(3) The children's mental health work group shall review the barriers that exist to identifying and treating mental health issues in children with a particular focus on birth to five and report to the appropriate committees of the legislature. At a minimum the work group must:
(a) Review and recommend developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate assessment tools and diagnostic approaches that managed care plans and behavioral health organizations should use as the mechanism to establish eligibility for services;
(b) Identify and review billing issues related to serving the parent or caregiver in a treatment dyad and the billing issues related to services that are appropriate for serving children, including children birth to five;
(c) Evaluate and identify barriers to billing and payment for behavioral health services provided within primary care settings in an effort to promote and increase the use of behavioral health professionals within primary care settings;
(d) Review workforce issues related to serving children and families, including issues specifically related to birth to five;
(e) Recommend strategies for increasing workforce diversity and the number of professionals qualified to provide children's mental health services;
(f) Review and make recommendations on the development and adoption of standards for training and endorsement of professionals to become qualified to provide mental health services to children birth to five and their parents or caregivers;
(g) Analyze, in consultation with the *department of early learning, the health care authority, and the department of social and health services, existing and potential mental health supports for child care providers to reduce expulsions of children in child care and preschool; and
(h) Identify outreach strategies that will successfully disseminate information to parents, providers, schools, and other individuals who work with children and youth on the mental health services offered through the health care plans, including referrals to parenting programs, community providers, and behavioral health organizations.
(4) Legislative members of the work group are reimbursed for travel expenses in accordance with RCW 44.04.120. Nonlegislative members are not entitled to be reimbursed for travel expenses if they are elected officials or are participating on behalf of an employer, governmental entity, or other organization. Any reimbursement for other nonlegislative members is subject to chapter 43.03 RCW.
(5) The expenses of the work group must be paid jointly by the senate and the house of representatives. Work group expenditures are subject to approval by the senate facilities and operations committee and the house of representatives executive rules committee, or their successor committees.
(6) The work group shall report its findings and recommendations to the appropriate committees of the legislature by December 1, 2016.
(7) Staff support for the committee must be provided by the house of representatives office of program research, the senate committee services, and the office of financial management.
(8) This section expires December 1, 2017." [ 2016 c 96 § 2.]
*Reviser's note: The department of early learning was abolished and its powers, duties, and functions were transferred to the department of children, youth, and families by 2017 3rd sp.s. c 6 § 802, effective July 1, 2018.
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