Gov. Jay Inslee announced today he will pursue a five-year plan to modernize and transform the state’s mental health system. At a meeting with hospital leadership, Inslee said he will be working with legislators to expedite efforts to end civil patient placements at the state’s large hospitals by 2023 in favor of smaller community-based facilities that are primarily state-run with some community hospital capacity throughout the state.
Western State and Eastern State will continue to focus on serving forensic and certain hard-to-place civil commitment patients, while other patients will be served in the community through a combination of smaller, more cost-efficient, state-run programs that will be disbursed throughout the state and private community hospitals.
The governor originally proposed this transition in his 2017–19 budget proposal. Western State Hospital, the larger of the two state hospitals, has struggled to keep up with increasing demand for services as well as challenges in finding appropriate placements for patients ready to be discharged. It is the focus of ongoing federal and judicial scrutiny.
Read the rest of the story on the governor's Medium page.