State awards nearly $5 million to increase number of short-term psychiatric care beds

Funds go to health care providers in Monroe, Tacoma, Sunnyside and Olympia

The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced $4.84 million in grants to four health care providers to develop additional facilities for short-term inpatient psychiatric detention services. The state’s investment is supported with approximately $3 million more from other funding sources.

The grant recipients are:
• Fairfax Behavioral Health – Monroe, $880,000
• Making a Difference in Community – Tacoma, $1.32 million
• Sunnyside Community Hospital – Sunnyside, $1.32 million
• Thurston Mason Regional Support Network – Olympia, $1.32 million

The funds are for construction and equipment costs associated with establishing facilities needed to accommodate increased psychiatric admissions as a result of changes to Washington State’s Involuntary Treatment Act (ITA) that took effect in 2012. Patients treated are individuals with a mental disorder who may be gravely disabled or pose a danger to themselves or others, and who refuse or are unable to enter treatment on their own.

A study conducted by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy estimated a need for approximately 54 new adult inpatient psychiatric beds at short-term evaluation and treatment facilities.

The grants were awarded through a competitive process conducted by Commerce, Department of Health, and Department of Social and Health Services. The projects must maintain the beds or facility for the intended use for at least 10 years.

“These projects will provide much needed additional public mental health service capacity in these communities and surrounding areas,” said Brian Bonlender, Director of the Department of Commerce. “Commerce and our state agency partners carefully evaluated proposals in order to ensure maximum impact for capital dollars spent — these investments will make a meaningful difference across the state.”

The Thurston-Mason project is new construction, while the other projects will repurpose existing facilities. Mental health bed grants are for hospitals or other entities to establish or build new short-term mental health units or services with 16 or fewer beds, such as:
• Community hospital inpatient psychiatric beds
• Free-standing evaluation and treatment facilities
• Enhanced service facilities
• Triage facilities
• Crisis stabilization facilities


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