Legislative Update: January 2018
Where the Volk bill is: The bill is in the House Judicial Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Jinkins. Rep. Jinkins—and the Democratic Party in general—opposes legislative action which would overrule court decisions. Thus, any bill to reverse Volk is probably not going to come out of committee as long as Rep. Jinkins is chair—or as long as the Democrats control the legislature. Thus, our idea of “setting the table for 2019” is probably not realistic.
What happens next: Our lobbyists, along with the lobbyists for the clinical social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and others, have worked with Rep. Jinkins to find an avenue to resolve the issue. The solution was to submit the case to the Bree Collaborative. The Bree Collaborative takes legislative subjects and creates an in-depth study. Bree is considered unbiased and is valued by legislators. The timeline for such a study is 1-2 years.
What it means for the profession: The general consensus is that—for the next couple of years—the Volk decision will stand while the Legislature, mental health care providers, and other stakeholders work to resolve what it means to the profession.
Submitting testimony in support of mental health field response teams
AAPPN submitted testimony from our own Bernie Gilroy regarding HB2892, which would establish the mental health field response teams program. This program requires the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs to develop and implement a mental health field response team grant program. Bernie’s agency has worked with a pilot program with local authorities, with great success. Our thanks to Bernie for her written testimony!
Other bills with AAPPN is supporting
The following bills are being supported by AAPPN. This support consists of our lobbyists working with legislators and stakeholders on AAPPN’s behalf, and with AAPPN “signing in” to committee hearings in support of the bill. You can find out more about these bills at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/.
HB1259: Concerning standards for detention of persons with mental disorders or chemical dependency. This bill concerns the standard used for detaining people on an emergency basis for the purpose of treatment of a mental illness. It would change the threshold from “imminent risk” to “substantial likelihood.” This is a significant change and will allow many more of our patients who need hospitalization to receive it.
HB1374: Improving students’ mental health by enhancing nonacademic professional services. Deals with mental health services in schools and provides for collaboration between school psychologists, school counselors, and school social workers. A component of this bill does provide for collaboration with mental health providers in the community. WSNA is also supporting this bill.
HB1546: Concerning the addition of services for long-term placement of mental health patients in community hospitals that voluntarily contract and are certified by the department of social and health services. (Support with concerns) This bill seeks to shift long-term care of severely/chronically mentally ill individuals out of the centralized state-run hospitals and into community-based hospitals.
HB2264: Concerning hospital privileges for advanced registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants. This bills amends RCW 70.41.230, which stipulates the process for hospital hiring and privileging, and addresses the employment in hospitals of ARNPs and PAs who currently have hospital privileges for work in a variety of roles. AUWS reached out to us to support this bill.
HB2325: Concerning the prescription drug monitoring program. (Support with concerns) AG-requested bill to address the opioid epidemic. After discussing this bill with other stakeholders, the Legislative Committee decided to support with concerns.
HB2447: Concerning practitioner education of opiate risks and pain management alternatives. (Does not directly involve Psych ARNPs, but supporting WSNA)
HB2541: Expanding the classes of persons who may provide informed consent for certain patients who are not competent to consent. Includes the following in the classes of persons who may provide informed consent: Adult grandchildren, adult nieces and nephews, adult aunts and uncles, and certain unrelated adults.
HB2671: Improving the behavioral health of people in the agricultural industry. Bi-partisan support for establishing a pilot program and task force.
HB2888: Addressing workplace bullying by making it an unfair practice to subject an employee to an abusive work environment.
SB5894: Concerning behavioral health system reform. Broad legislation addresses capacity for long-term involuntary treatment and community behavioral health. It also addresses the provision of psychiatric treatment at state hospitals by psychiatric nurse practitioners.
SB6025: Increasing success in therapeutic courts. This deals with substance use disorder treatment through drug courts. However, the bill adds mental health counseling, along with housing and vocational training to the treatment definition.
SB6387: Concerning the handling of child forensic interview and child interview digital recordings. Inherent privacy interest that a child has with respect to the child’s recorded voice and image when describing the highly sensitive details of abuse or neglect upon the child. This bill would exempt these records from disclosure under the public records act and provide additional sanction authority for violations of protective orders.
SB6448: Expanding the list of authorized provider types to treat injured workers suffering from mental health conditions caused by their industrial injury or occupational disease. Expands the list of authorized provider types to treat injured workers suffering from mental health conditions caused by their industrial injury or occupational disease.
SB 6485: Improving access to mental health services for children & youth. Reestablishes the children’s mental health work group.