behavioral health

Over 200 employees hired to staff Tukwila behavioral hospital bought by Washington

BY: - November 23, 2023

Washington has hired a little over 200 employees to staff a Tukwila psychiatric hospital the state bought in August for nearly $30 million, according to Jo Sahlin, a spokesperson for the newly-named Olympic Heritage Behavioral Health Hospital.  At a ribbon-cutting ceremony to formally open Olympic Heritage on Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee said he wanted the […]

Washington faces steep path closing mental health bed gap for jailed defendants

BY: - October 16, 2023

Defendants with psychiatric conditions often sit in Washington’s jails for weeks and sometimes months, waiting for mental health services before they can stand trial.  That’s despite a 2015 federal court order, stemming from a lawsuit known as the Trueblood case, that found the state’s wait times unconstitutional. Washington’s been in contempt of the court order […]

As union lawsuit falters, state readies Tukwila psychiatric hospital for patients

BY: - October 3, 2023

The state is planning to admit patients before the end of the month at a recently acquired psychiatric hospital in Tukwila, in spite of a union lawsuit seeking to stall the facility’s sale. Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services is aiming to accept about 50 patients before the end of October, agency spokesman Tyler […]

Washington Senate’s budget-writing panel gets a new leader

BY: - September 21, 2023

Sen. June Robinson, an Everett Democrat, was named Thursday as the new chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, the budget-writing panel responsible for developing tax policies and deciding how the state spends billions of dollars each year. Robinson, the committee vice chair for the operating budget and revenue the last three sessions, was […]

Union sues to stop state purchase of psychiatric hospital until labor dispute is resolved

BY: - September 1, 2023

The union representing over 200 former employees of a behavioral health hospital Washington plans to buy for nearly $30 million has filed a lawsuit in federal court to block the sale until an arbitrator can determine whether the deal abides by the union’s contract.  SEIU Healthcare 1199NW sued Cascade Behavioral Health on Aug. 24, alleging […]

Violence against staff rises sharply at a Washington psychiatric hospital

BY: - August 25, 2023

Assaults on staff by patients surged last year at one of Washington’s state-owned psychiatric hospitals, although just two individuals were responsible for nearly 20% of the attacks, according to a new report. At Eastern State Hospital, which is located near Spokane and treats adult psychiatric patients, assaults on staff rose 63% from 2021 to 2022, […]

22 counties sue state over lack of mental health care

BY: - August 23, 2023

Nearly two dozen counties are suing the state Department of Social and Health Services, which they claim is refusing to provide essential behavioral health treatment to hundreds of patients who are considered unfit for trial.  The Washington State Association of Counties, along with 22 counties, including King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane, filed the lawsuit in […]

State completes acquisition of shuttered Tukwila psychiatric hospital

BY: - August 14, 2023

Washington will officially take over a closed Tukwila psychiatric hospital on Tuesday after spending nearly $30 million to acquire the property. The Cascade Behavioral Health Hospital purchase is expected to add 100 new beds for patients who are committed to state hospitals. Officials said this should free up beds for people in jail awaiting competency […]

State ‘totally disregarded’ involuntary treatment law, held people too long, high court rules

BY: - July 27, 2023

Washington authorities failed to follow a state law that allows for people to be temporarily detained against their will for mental health treatment, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday. In two 5-4 decisions, the court ruled that the state “totally disregarded” the requirements of the Involuntary Treatment Act for three individuals held for behavioral health […]