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National 988 systemCrisis response improvement strategy committeeMembershipSteering committeeReports. (Expires June 30, 2024.)

(1) The crisis response improvement strategy committee is established for the purpose of providing advice in developing an integrated behavioral health crisis response and suicide prevention system containing the elements described in this section. The work of the committee shall be received and reviewed by a steering committee, which shall in turn form subcommittees to provide the technical analysis and input needed to formulate system change recommendations.
(2) The office of financial management shall contract with the behavioral health institute at Harborview medical center to facilitate and provide staff support to the steering committee and to the crisis response improvement strategy committee.
(3) The steering committee shall select three cochairs from among its members to lead the crisis response improvement strategy committee. The crisis response improvement strategy committee shall consist of the following members, who shall be appointed or requested by the authority, unless otherwise noted:
(a) The director of the authority, or his or her designee, who shall also serve on the steering committee;
(b) The secretary of the department, or his or her designee, who shall also serve on the steering committee;
(c) A member representing the office of the governor, who shall also serve on the steering committee;
(d) The Washington state insurance commissioner, or his or her designee;
(e) Up to two members representing federally recognized tribes, one from eastern Washington and one from western Washington, who have expertise in behavioral health needs of their communities;
(f) One member from each of the two largest caucuses of the senate, one of whom shall also be designated to participate on the steering committee, to be appointed by the president of the senate;
(g) One member from each of the two largest caucuses of the house of representatives, one of whom shall also be designated to participate on the steering committee, to be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives;
(h) The director of the Washington state department of veterans affairs, or his or her designee;
(i) The state enhanced 911 coordinator, or his or her designee;
(j) A member with lived experience of a suicide attempt;
(k) A member with lived experience of a suicide loss;
(l) A member with experience of participation in the crisis system related to lived experience of a mental health disorder;
(m) A member with experience of participation in the crisis system related to lived experience with a substance use disorder;
(n) A member representing each crisis call center in Washington that is contracted with the national suicide prevention lifeline;
(o) Up to two members representing behavioral health administrative services organizations, one from an urban region and one from a rural region;
(p) A member representing the Washington council for behavioral health;
(q) A member representing the association of alcoholism and addiction programs of Washington state;
(r) A member representing the Washington state hospital association;
(s) A member representing the national alliance on mental illness Washington;
(t) A member representing the behavioral health interests of persons of color recommended by Sea Mar community health centers;
(u) A member representing the behavioral health interests of persons of color recommended by Asian counseling and referral service;
(v) A member representing law enforcement;
(w) A member representing a university-based suicide prevention center of excellence;
(x) A member representing an emergency medical services department with a CARES program;
(y) A member representing medicaid managed care organizations, as recommended by the association of Washington healthcare plans;
(z) A member representing commercial health insurance, as recommended by the association of Washington healthcare plans;
(aa) A member representing the Washington association of designated crisis responders;
(bb) A member representing the children and youth behavioral health work group;
(cc) A member representing a social justice organization addressing police accountability and the use of deadly force; and
(dd) A member representing an organization specializing in facilitating behavioral health services for LGBTQ populations.
(4) The crisis response improvement strategy committee shall assist the steering committee to identify potential barriers and make recommendations necessary to implement and effectively monitor the progress of the 988 crisis hotline in Washington and make recommendations for the statewide improvement of behavioral health crisis response and suicide prevention services.
(5) The steering committee must develop a comprehensive assessment of the behavioral health crisis response and suicide prevention services system by January 1, 2022, including an inventory of existing statewide and regional behavioral health crisis response, suicide prevention, and crisis stabilization services and resources, and taking into account capital projects which are planned and funded. The comprehensive assessment shall identify:
(a) Statewide and regional insufficiencies and gaps in behavioral health crisis response and suicide prevention services and resources needed to meet population needs;
(b) Quantifiable goals for the provision of statewide and regional behavioral health crisis services and targeted deployment of resources, which consider factors such as reported rates of involuntary commitment detentions, single-bed certifications, suicide attempts and deaths, substance use disorder-related overdoses, overdose or withdrawal-related deaths, and incarcerations due to a behavioral health incident;
(c) A process for establishing outcome measures, benchmarks, and improvement targets, for the crisis response system; and
(d) Potential funding sources to provide statewide and regional behavioral health crisis services and resources.
(6) The steering committee, taking into account the comprehensive assessment work under subsection (5) of this section as it becomes available, after discussion with the crisis response improvement strategy committee and hearing reports from the subcommittees, shall report on the following:
(a) A recommended vision for an integrated crisis network in Washington that includes, but is not limited to: An integrated 988 crisis hotline and crisis call center hubs; mobile rapid response crisis teams; mobile crisis response units for youth, adult, and geriatric population; a range of crisis stabilization services; an integrated involuntary treatment system; access to peer-run services, including peer-run respite centers; adequate crisis respite services; and data resources;
(b) Recommendations to promote equity in services for individuals of diverse circumstances of culture, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and for individuals in tribal, urban, and rural communities;
(c) Recommendations for a work plan with timelines to implement appropriate local responses to calls to the 988 crisis hotline within Washington in accordance with the time frames required by the national suicide hotline designation act of 2020;
(d) The necessary components of each of the new technologically advanced behavioral health crisis call center system platform and the new behavioral health integrated client referral system, as provided under RCW 71.24.890, for assigning and tracking response to behavioral health crisis calls and providing real-time bed and outpatient appointment availability to 988 operators, emergency departments, designated crisis responders, and other behavioral health crisis responders, which shall include but not be limited to:
(i) Identification of the components crisis call center hub staff need to effectively coordinate crisis response services and find available beds and available primary care and behavioral health outpatient appointments;
(ii) Evaluation of existing bed tracking models currently utilized by other states and identifying the model most suitable to Washington's crisis behavioral health system;
(iii) Evaluation of whether bed tracking will improve access to all behavioral health bed types and other impacts and benefits; and
(iv) Exploration of how the bed tracking and outpatient appointment availability platform can facilitate more timely access to care and other impacts and benefits;
(e) The necessary systems and capabilities that licensed or certified behavioral health agencies, behavioral health providers, and any other relevant parties will require to report, maintain, and update inpatient and residential bed and outpatient service availability in real time to correspond with the crisis call center system platform or behavioral health integrated client referral system identified in RCW 71.24.890, as appropriate;
(f) A work plan to establish the capacity for the crisis call center hubs to integrate Spanish language interpreters and Spanish-speaking call center staff into their operations, and to ensure the availability of resources to meet the unique needs of persons in the agricultural community who are experiencing mental health stresses, which explicitly addresses concerns regarding confidentiality;
(g) A work plan with timelines to enhance and expand the availability of community-based mobile rapid response crisis teams based in each region, including specialized teams as appropriate to respond to the unique needs of youth, including American Indian and Alaska Native youth and LGBTQ youth, and geriatric populations, including older adults of color and older adults with comorbid dementia;
(h) The identification of other personal and systemic behavioral health challenges which implementation of the 988 crisis hotline has the potential to address in addition to suicide response and behavioral health crises;
(i) The development of a plan for the statewide equitable distribution of crisis stabilization services, behavioral health beds, and peer-run respite services;
(j) Recommendations concerning how health plans, managed care organizations, and behavioral health administrative services organizations shall fulfill requirements to provide assignment of a care coordinator and to provide next-day appointments for enrollees who contact the behavioral health crisis system;
(k) Appropriate allocation of crisis system funding responsibilities among medicaid managed care organizations, commercial insurers, and behavioral health administrative services organizations;
(l) Recommendations for constituting a statewide behavioral health crisis response and suicide prevention oversight board or similar structure for ongoing monitoring of the behavioral health crisis system and where this should be established; and
(m) Cost estimates for each of the components of the integrated behavioral health crisis response and suicide prevention system.
(7) The steering committee shall consist only of members appointed to the steering committee under this section. The steering committee shall convene the committee, form subcommittees, assign tasks to the subcommittees, and establish a schedule of meetings and their agendas.
(8) The subcommittees of the crisis response improvement strategy committee shall focus on discrete topics. The subcommittees may include participants who are not members of the crisis response improvement strategy committee, as needed to provide professional expertise and community perspectives. Each subcommittee shall have at least one member representing the interests of stakeholders in a rural community, at least one member representing the interests of stakeholders in an urban community, and at least one member representing the interests of youth stakeholders. The steering committee shall form the following subcommittees:
(a) A Washington tribal 988 subcommittee, which shall examine and make recommendations with respect to the needs of tribes related to the 988 system, and which shall include representation from the American Indian health commission;
(b) A credentialing and training subcommittee, to recommend workforce needs and requirements necessary to implement chapter 302, Laws of 2021, including minimum education requirements such as whether it would be appropriate to allow crisis call center hubs to employ clinical staff without a bachelor's degree or master's degree based on the person's skills and life or work experience;
(c) A technology subcommittee, to examine issues and requirements related to the technology needed to implement chapter 302, Laws of 2021;
(d) A cross-system crisis response collaboration subcommittee, to examine and define the complementary roles and interactions between mobile rapid response crisis teams, designated crisis responders, law enforcement, emergency medical services teams, 911 and 988 operators, public and private health plans, behavioral health crisis response agencies, nonbehavioral health crisis response agencies, and others needed to implement chapter 302, Laws of 2021;
(e) A confidential information compliance and coordination subcommittee, to examine issues relating to sharing and protection of health information needed to implement chapter 302, Laws of 2021; and
(f) Any other subcommittee needed to facilitate the work of the committee, at the discretion of the steering committee.
(9) The proceedings of the crisis response improvement strategy committee must be open to the public and invite testimony from a broad range of perspectives. The committee shall seek input from tribes, veterans, the LGBTQ community, and communities of color to help discern how well the crisis response system is currently working and recommend ways to improve the crisis response system.
(10) Legislative members of the crisis response improvement strategy committee shall be 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.
(11) The steering committee, with the advice of the crisis response improvement strategy committee, shall provide a progress report and the result of its comprehensive assessment under subsection (5) of this section to the governor and appropriate policy and fiscal committee of the legislature by January 1, 2022. The steering committee shall report the crisis response improvement strategy committee's further progress and the steering committee's recommendations related to crisis call center hubs to the governor and appropriate policy and fiscal committees of the legislature by January 1, 2023. The steering committee shall provide its final report to the governor and the appropriate policy and fiscal committees of the legislature by January 1, 2024.
(12) This section expires June 30, 2024.

NOTES:

Effective date2021 c 302 § 103: "Section 103 of this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately [May 13, 2021]." [ 2021 c 302 § 408.]
FindingsIntent2021 c 302: See note following RCW 71.24.890.
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