74.09.490  <<  74.09.492 >>   74.09.495

Children's mental healthTreatment and servicesAuthority's duties. (Expires June 30, 2020.)

*** CHANGE IN 2019 *** (SEE 5432-S2.SL) ***
(1) For children who are eligible for medical assistance and who have been identified as requiring mental health treatment, the authority must oversee the coordination of resources and services through (a) the managed health care system as defined in RCW 74.09.325 and (b) tribal organizations providing health care services. The authority must ensure the child receives treatment and appropriate care based on their assessed needs, regardless of whether the referral occurred through primary care, school-based services, or another practitioner.
(2) The authority must require each managed health care system as defined in RCW 74.09.325 and each behavioral health organization to develop and maintain adequate capacity to facilitate child mental health treatment services in the community or transfers to a behavioral health organization, depending on the level of required care. Managed health care systems and behavioral health organizations must:
(a) Follow up with individuals to ensure an appointment has been secured;
(b) Coordinate with and report back to primary care provider offices on individual treatment plans and medication management, in accordance with patient confidentiality laws;
(c) Provide information to health plan members and primary care providers about the behavioral health resource line available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week; and
(d) Maintain an accurate list of providers contracted to provide mental health services to children and youth. The list must contain current information regarding the providers' availability to provide services. The current list must be made available to health plan members and primary care providers.
(3) This section expires June 30, 2020.


FindingsIntent2017 c 202: "The legislature finds that children and their families face systemic barriers to accessing necessary mental health services. These barriers include a workforce shortage of mental health providers throughout the system of care. Of particular concern are shortages of providers in underserved rural areas of our state and a shortage of providers statewide who can deliver culturally and linguistically appropriate services. The legislature further finds that greater coordination across systems, including early learning, K-12 education, and health care, is necessary to provide children and their families with coordinated care.
The legislature further finds that until mental health and physical health services are fully integrated in the year 2020, children who are eligible for medicaid services and require mental health treatment should receive coordinated mental health and physical health services to the fullest extent possible.
The legislature further finds that in 2013, the department of social and health services and the health care authority reported that only forty percent of the children on medicaid who had mental health treatment needs were receiving services and that mental health treatment needs increase with the number of adverse childhood experiences that a child has undergone.
The legislature further finds that children with mental health service needs have higher rates of emergency room use, criminal justice system involvement, and an increased risk of homelessness, and that trauma-informed care can mitigate some of these negative outcomes.
Therefore, the legislature intends to implement recommendations from the children's mental health work group, as reported in December 2016, in order to improve mental health care access for children and their families through the early learning, K-12 education, and health care systems. The legislature further intends to encourage providers to use 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." [ 2017 c 202 § 1.]
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