Updated: Jun 23
As with the nature of the legislative session, we must often adjust as bills move forward or come to a halt.
We have shifted our focus to the behavioral health workforce shortage because in order to implement many of the great behavioral health policies that we’ve
advocated for, we need to increase Washington’s behavioral health workforce and remove barriers that prevent people, especially those from marginalized communities, from entering the workforce. To address this issue, NAMI WA will now prioritize HB 1724: Increasing Behavioral Health Workforce. HB 1724: Increasing Behavioral Health Workforce makes it easier for people to enter the behavioral health workforce by offering targeted supports to new behavioral health professionals and making the process for licensure easier. We are also shifting gears in regards to behavioral health prescription drugs and focusing on continuity of care by adding SB 5300 to our priority list. SB 5300: Continuity of Care for Behavioral Health Prescription Drugs prohibits commercial insurance companies and state plans such as Medicaid, PEBB/SEBB from changing their formulary in the middle of a plan year and requiring patients to change their medication. SB 5300 also prohibits plans from increasing cost-share obligations for prescription drugs. The deadline to move these bills out of their House of Origin is March 8th . Contact your legislator now and ask them to support NAMI WA’s priorities! We have also included capital budget asks and updated the Medicaid rate increase. NAMI WA is prioritizing capital budget funding for community-based treatment facilities and the new Western State Forensic Hospital. We were also pleased to find out that the budget ask for the Medicaid rate increase for behavioral health providers is 15% instead of 7% and we have updated the legislative priority list to reflect the increase.
Lauren B. Simonds, M.S.W.