Governor’s 2019-21 Budget Priorities
Governor Inslee recently released his budget for 2019-21. Several of the Governor’s budget priorities focus on mental and behavioral health. AAPPN is committed to working with the Governor’s office, the State Legislature, and community stakeholders to expand access to mental health services, advocate for our patients, and represent our profession in Olympia and across Washington State.
Our lobbyist, Melissa Johnson, summarized the following mental health highlights in the Governor’s budget.
Governor’s 2019-2021 Budget Highlights
Intensive behavioral health treatment facilities: Create four intensive behavioral health community treatment facilities across the state. This new facility type addresses the need for discharge placements in the community for individuals leaving the state psychiatric hospitals, but who possess higher levels of behavioral challenges that alternative behavioral health facilities current can’t accommodate.
Mental health drop-in facilities: Create five mental health drop-in facilities across the state to divert individuals from crisis services and inpatient-level care. Mental health drop-in facilities are peer operated and serve individuals in need of voluntary, short-term, non-crisis services that focus on recovery and wellness in a trauma-informed environment.
Community long-term inpatient beds: Increase the daily bed rate to providers to create new 90- and 180-day civil inpatient psychiatric capacity in the community.
Discharge wraparound services: Fund intensive wraparound services for adults discharging from the state psychiatric hospitals to alternative community placements. These services help ensure discharge placements are successful.
Intensive outpatient treatment and partial hospitalization: Expand intensive outpatient treatment programs and partial hospitalization programs to Medicaid clients. These evidence-based programs are provided by acute or psychiatric hospitals and tailored to individual patient treatment needs once individuals are discharged from inpatient psychiatric facilities.
Build behavioral health workforce: Create a new behavioral health professional conditional scholarship for 50 students who commit to working in high-demand behavioral health fields in state hospitals and state behavioral health community sites. This will increase the behavioral health workforce to address critical staffing shortages.
Washington State’s Budget Process
Washington State operates on a biennium, or two-year budget. In December of even-numbered years (Year 1), the Governor releases a proposed budget. When the Legislature convenes in January (Year 2), they begin work on formulating their own budget plans. After the Senate and House pass their respective plans, leaders in each chamber come together to negotiate and come up with one budget that can pass the full Legislature. The final budget is then submitted to the Governor, who may veto some or all of the budget. Once the Governor signs the budget, it takes effect on July 1 of each odd-numbered year.
Many thanks to Washington State Nurses Association for sharing their budget cycle chart!