State teams with Premera Blue Cross to invest $2.24 million to increase rural mental health crisis care capacity

Unique public-private partnership funds capital grants that will create more options for people to get multiple levels of crisis stabilization care locally in communities throughout the state

OLYMPIA, WA — The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced $2.24 million in capital grants to three behavioral health care providers across the state. Funding is provided through an innovative partnership with Premera Blue Cross – the first of its kind in Washington state – and will place needed capacity for health crisis stabilization care into rural communities.

“Where you live should not be a barrier to appropriate and immediate treatment for people suffering a health crisis. We are proud to be working with Premera to develop a more complete range of behavioral health care options for residents of Washington’s rural communities,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “These grants are an important investment in the future of community-based mental health care throughout our state.”

“As a health plan covering the entire state of Washington, many of our members are spread over large, medically underserved areas,” said Jeff Roe, president and CEO of Premera Blue Cross. “Behavioral health needs are on the rise, and it is critical to invest in effective, long-term solutions to close the growing gap between urban and rural health care access.”

The projects awarded funding will offer people in crisis more options for treatment closer to home and family. Additionally, they will account for different stages of need, ensuring that individuals get the appropriate level of care. Crisis care is meant to stabilize a person so they don’t progress to higher levels of care.  The grants were awarded to:

  • Comprehensive HealthcareKlickitat Crisis Stabilization project, located in White Salmon, awarded $338,650 for a renovation that will allow for two new 23-hour recliners and related behavioral health crisis stabilization outpatient services.
  • MultiCare FoundationsDeaconess Hospital Crisis Stabilization Unit project, located in Spokane, awarded $1 million for a renovation that will create a new 22-bed crisis stabilization unit adjacent to the Deaconess Hospital emergency department for behavioral health crisis stabilization outpatient services.
  • Three Rivers TherapyThree Rivers Therapy Crisis Stabilization Center project, located in Kennewick, awarded $904,470 for construction of a new mental health outpatient and crisis stabilization center.

The investments support Gov. Jay Inslee’s five-year plan to modernize and transform Washington’s mental health system, with the goal of ending civil patient placements at the state’s large hospitals by 2023 in favor of smaller community-based facilities.

The grants were awarded through a competitive process conducted by Commerce with support from partner agencies: the Department of Health, the Washington State Health Care Authority and the Department of Children, Youth and Families. The funds are for construction and equipment costs associated with establishing the facilities and must be maintained for the intended use for at least 10 years.

These grant funds will leverage an additional $1.3 million in construction investment from other public and private sources.

Commerce also administers the state’s Behavioral Health Facilities Program, which annually awards capital funds appropriated by the Legislature to facilities providing community-based behavioral health treatment options. For more information about the program and future funding availability, visit Commerce’s website.


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