71.24.887  <<  71.24.890 >>   71.24.892

National 988 systemCrisis call center hubsTechnology and platform developmentAgency collaboration.

(1) Establishing the state crisis call center hubs and enhancing the crisis response system will require collaborative work between the department and the authority within their respective roles. The department shall have primary responsibility for establishing and designating the crisis call center hubs. The authority shall have primary responsibility for developing and implementing the crisis response system and services to support the work of the crisis call center hubs. In any instance in which one agency is identified as the lead, the expectation is that agency will be communicating and collaborating with the other to ensure seamless, continuous, and effective service delivery within the statewide crisis response system.
(2) The department shall provide adequate funding for the state's crisis call centers to meet an expected increase in the use of the call centers based on the implementation of the 988 crisis hotline. The funding level shall be established at a level anticipated to achieve an in-state call response rate of at least 90 percent by July 22, 2022. The funding level shall be determined by considering standards and cost per call predictions provided by the administrator of the national suicide prevention lifeline, call volume predictions, guidance on crisis call center performance metrics, and necessary technology upgrades.
(3) The department shall adopt rules by July 1, 2023, to establish standards for designation of crisis call centers as crisis call center hubs. The department shall collaborate with the authority and other agencies to assure coordination and availability of services, and shall consider national guidelines for behavioral health crisis care as determined by the federal substance abuse and mental health services administration, national behavioral health accrediting bodies, and national behavioral health provider associations to the extent they are appropriate, and recommendations from the crisis response improvement strategy committee created in RCW 71.24.892.
(4) The department shall designate crisis call center hubs by July 1, 2024. The crisis call center hubs shall provide crisis intervention services, triage, care coordination, referrals, and connections to individuals contacting the 988 crisis hotline from any jurisdiction within Washington 24 hours a day, seven days a week, using the system platform developed under subsection (5) of this section.
(a) To be designated as a crisis call center hub, the applicant must demonstrate to the department the ability to comply with the requirements of this section and to contract to provide crisis call center hub services. The department may revoke the designation of any crisis call center hub that fails to substantially comply with the contract.
(b) The contracts entered shall require designated crisis call center hubs to:
(i) Have an active agreement with the administrator of the national suicide prevention lifeline for participation within its network;
(ii) Meet the requirements for operational and clinical standards established by the department and based upon the national suicide prevention lifeline best practices guidelines and other recognized best practices;
(iii) Employ highly qualified, skilled, and trained clinical staff who have sufficient training and resources to provide empathy to callers in acute distress, de-escalate crises, assess behavioral health disorders and suicide risk, triage to system partners, and provide case management and documentation. Call center staff shall be trained to make every effort to resolve cases in the least restrictive environment and without law enforcement involvement whenever possible. Call center staff shall coordinate with certified peer counselors to provide follow-up and outreach to callers in distress as available. It is intended for transition planning to include a pathway for continued employment and skill advancement as needed for experienced crisis call center employees;
(iv) Collaborate with the authority, the national suicide prevention lifeline, and veterans crisis line networks to assure consistency of public messaging about the 988 crisis hotline; and
(v) Provide data and reports and participate in evaluations and related quality improvement activities, according to standards established by the department in collaboration with the authority.
(c) The department and the authority shall incorporate recommendations from the crisis response improvement strategy committee created under RCW 71.24.892 in its agreements with crisis call center hubs, as appropriate.
(5) The department and authority must coordinate to develop the technology and platforms necessary to manage and operate the behavioral health crisis response and suicide prevention system. The technologies developed must include:
(a) A new technologically advanced behavioral health and suicide prevention crisis call center system platform using technology demonstrated to be interoperable across crisis and emergency response systems used throughout the state, such as 911 systems, emergency medical services systems, and other nonbehavioral health crisis services, for use in crisis call center hubs designated by the department under subsection (4) of this section. This platform, which shall be fully funded by July 1, 2023, shall be developed by the department and must include the capacity to receive crisis assistance requests through phone calls, texts, chats, and other similar methods of communication that may be developed in the future that promote access to the behavioral health crisis system; and
(b) A behavioral health integrated client referral system capable of providing system coordination information to crisis call center hubs and the other entities involved in behavioral health care. This system shall be developed by the authority.
(6) In developing the new technologies under subsection (5) of this section, the department and the authority must coordinate to designate a primary technology system to provide each of the following:
(a) Access to real-time information relevant to the coordination of behavioral health crisis response and suicide prevention services, including:
(i) Real-time bed availability for all behavioral health bed types, including but not limited to crisis stabilization services, triage facilities, psychiatric inpatient, substance use disorder inpatient, withdrawal management, peer-run respite centers, and crisis respite services, inclusive of both voluntary and involuntary beds, for use by crisis response workers, first responders, health care providers, emergency departments, and individuals in crisis; and
(ii) Real-time information relevant to the coordination of behavioral health crisis response and suicide prevention services for a person, including the means to access:
(A) Information about any less restrictive alternative treatment orders or mental health advance directives related to the person; and
(B) Information necessary to enable the crisis call center hub to actively collaborate with emergency departments, primary care providers and behavioral health providers within managed care organizations, behavioral health administrative services organizations, and other health care payers to establish a safety plan for the person in accordance with best practices and provide the next steps for the person's transition to follow-up noncrisis care. To establish information-sharing guidelines that fulfill the intent of this section the authority shall consider input from the confidential information compliance and coordination subcommittee established under RCW 71.24.892;
(b) The means to request deployment of appropriate crisis response services, which may include mobile rapid response crisis teams, co-responder teams, designated crisis responders, fire department mobile integrated health teams, or community assistance referral and educational services programs under RCW 35.21.930, according to best practice guidelines established by the authority, and track local response through global positioning technology; and
(c) The means to track the outcome of the 988 call to enable appropriate follow up, cross-system coordination, and accountability, including as appropriate: (i) Any immediate services dispatched and reports generated from the encounter; (ii) the validation of a safety plan established for the caller in accordance with best practices; (iii) the next steps for the caller to follow in transition to noncrisis follow-up care, including a next-day appointment for callers experiencing urgent, symptomatic behavioral health care needs; and (iv) the means to verify and document whether the caller was successful in making the transition to appropriate noncrisis follow-up care indicated in the safety plan for the person, to be completed either by the care coordinator provided through the person's managed care organization, health plan, or behavioral health administrative services organization, or if such a care coordinator is not available or does not follow through, by the staff of the crisis call center hub;
(d) A means to facilitate actions to verify and document whether the person's transition to follow up noncrisis care was completed and services offered, to be performed by a care coordinator provided through the person's managed care organization, health plan, or behavioral health administrative services organization, or if such a care coordinator is not available or does not follow through, by the staff of the crisis call center hub;
(e) The means to provide geographically, culturally, and linguistically appropriate services to persons who are part of high-risk populations or otherwise have need of specialized services or accommodations, and to document these services or accommodations; and
(f) When appropriate, consultation with tribal governments to ensure coordinated care in government-to-government relationships, and access to dedicated services to tribal members.
(7) To implement this section the department and the authority shall collaborate with the state enhanced 911 coordination office, emergency management division, and military department to develop technology that is demonstrated to be interoperable between the 988 crisis hotline system and crisis and emergency response systems used throughout the state, such as 911 systems, emergency medical services systems, and other nonbehavioral health crisis services, as well as the national suicide prevention lifeline, to assure cohesive interoperability, develop training programs and operations for both 911 public safety telecommunicators and crisis line workers, develop suicide and other behavioral health crisis assessments and intervention strategies, and establish efficient and equitable access to resources via crisis hotlines.
(8) The authority shall:
(a) Collaborate with county authorities and behavioral health administrative services organizations to develop procedures to dispatch behavioral health crisis services in coordination with crisis call center hubs to effectuate the intent of this section;
(b) Establish formal agreements with managed care organizations and behavioral health administrative services organizations by January 1, 2023, to provide for the services, capacities, and coordination necessary to effectuate the intent of this section, which shall include a requirement to arrange next-day appointments for persons contacting the 988 crisis hotline experiencing urgent, symptomatic behavioral health care needs with geographically, culturally, and linguistically appropriate primary care or behavioral health providers within the person's provider network, or, if uninsured, through the person's behavioral health administrative services organization;
(c) Create best practices guidelines by July 1, 2023, for deployment of appropriate and available crisis response services by crisis call center hubs to assist 988 hotline callers to minimize nonessential reliance on emergency room services and the use of law enforcement, considering input from relevant stakeholders and recommendations made by the crisis response improvement strategy committee created under RCW 71.24.892;
(d) Develop procedures to allow appropriate information sharing and communication between and across crisis and emergency response systems for the purpose of real-time crisis care coordination including, but not limited to, deployment of crisis and outgoing services, follow-up care, and linked, flexible services specific to crisis response; and
(e) Establish guidelines to appropriately serve high-risk populations who request crisis services. The authority shall design these guidelines to promote behavioral health equity for all populations with attention to circumstances of race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and geographic location, and include components such as training requirements for call response workers, policies for transferring such callers to an appropriate specialized center or subnetwork within or external to the national suicide prevention lifeline network, and procedures for referring persons who access the 988 crisis hotline to linguistically and culturally competent care.

NOTES:

FindingsIntent2021 c 302: "(1) The legislature finds that:
(a) Nearly 6,000 Washington adults and children died by suicide in the last five years, according to the federal centers for disease control and prevention, tragically reflecting a state increase of 36 percent in the last 10 years.
(b) Suicide is now the single leading cause of death for Washington young people ages 10 through 24, with total deaths 22 percent higher than for vehicle crashes.
(c) Groups with suicide rates higher than the general population include veterans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, LGBTQ youth, and people living in rural counties across the state.
(d) More than one in five Washington residents are currently living with a behavioral health disorder.
(e) The COVID-19 pandemic has increased stressors and substance use among Washington residents.
(f) An improved crisis response system will reduce reliance on emergency room services and the use of law enforcement response to behavioral health crises and will stabilize individuals in the community whenever possible.
(g) To accomplish effective crisis response and suicide prevention, Washington state must continue its integrated approach to address mental health and substance use disorder in tandem under the umbrella of behavioral health disorders, consistently with chapter 71.24 RCW and the state's approach to integrated health care. This is particularly true in the domain of suicide prevention, because of the prevalence of substance use as both a risk factor and means for suicide.
(2) The legislature intends to:
(a) Establish crisis call center hubs and expand the crisis response system in a deliberate, phased approach that includes the involvement of partners from a range of perspectives to:
(i) Save lives by improving the quality of and access to behavioral health crisis services;
(ii) Further equity in addressing mental health and substance use treatment and assure a culturally and linguistically competent response to behavioral health crises;
(iii) Recognize that, historically, crisis response placed marginalized communities, including those experiencing behavioral health crises, at disproportionate risk of poor outcomes and criminal justice involvement;
(iv) Comply with the national suicide hotline designation act of 2020 and the federal communications commission's rules adopted July 16, 2020, to assure that all Washington residents receive a consistent and effective level of 988 suicide prevention and other behavioral health crisis response and suicide prevention services no matter where they live, work, or travel in the state; and
(v) Provide higher quality support for people experiencing behavioral health crises through investment in new technology to create a crisis call center hub system to triage calls and link individuals to follow-up care.
(b) Make additional investments to enhance the crisis response system, including the expansion of crisis teams, to be known as mobile rapid response crisis teams, and deployment of a wide array of crisis stabilization services, such as 23-hour crisis stabilization units based on the living room model, crisis stabilization centers, short-term respite facilities, peer-run respite centers, and same-day walk-in behavioral health services. The overall crisis system shall contain components that operate like hospital emergency departments that accept all walk-ins and ambulance, fire, and police drop-offs. Certified peer counselors as well as peers in other roles providing support must be incorporated within the crisis system and along the continuum of crisis care." [ 2021 c 302 § 101.]
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