Status Summary

First reading, referred to College & Workforce Development on 1.28.19. Scheduled for public hearing in the House Committee on College & Workforce Development on 2.5.19. Executive session scheduled, but no action taken, in the House Committee on College & Workforce Development on 2.8.19. Executive action taken in the House Committee on College & Workforce Development on 2.20.19; 1st substitute bill passed. Referred to Appropriations on 2.22.19. Exec’d in the House Committee on Appropriations on 2.28.19; 2nd substitute bill passed. Referred to Rules on 3.1.19. Placed on second reading by Rules Committee on 3.4.19. 2nd substitute bill substituted and placed on third reading by Rules Committee and passed on 3.5.19. In the Senate: First reading, referred to Higher Education & Workforce Development on 3.7.19. Public hearing in the Senate Committee on Higher Education & Workforce Development on 3.19.19. Executive action taken in the Senate Committee on Higher Education & Workforce Development on 4.2.19; majority pass and refer to Ways & Means. Referred to Ways & Means on 4.3.19. Public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means on 4.8.19. Executive action taken in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means on 4.9.19; majority do pass with amendment(s). Passed to Rules Committee for second reading on 4.9.19. Placed on second reading by Rules Committee on 4.15.19. Committee amendment(s) adopted with no other amendments. Rules suspended. Placed and passed on Third Reading on 4.16.19. House concurred on Senate amendments; passed the bill, final passage 4.18.19. In the House: House concurred on Senate amendments; passed the bill, final passage on 4.18.19. Speaker signed on 4.23.19. In the Senate: President signed on 4.25.19. Other than legislative action: Delivered to Governor on 4.26.19. (updated 5.3.19)

Legislative Session

2019

Status

Passed

Sponsor

Slatter

The legislature recognizes that a poor distribution of health care professionals has resulted in a shortage of some parts of the state, such as in rural areas and in behavioral health services. The legislature also acknowledges that according to the Children’s Mental Health Work Group, in 2013, only 40% of children on Medicaid with mental health treatment needs were receiving services. Furthermore, behavioral health services are limited due to workforce shortages of providers.

As a result, the legislature intends to establish the Washington Health Corps to encourage more health care professionals to work in underserved areas by providing loan repayment and conditional scholarships in return for completing a service commitment.

This act amends RCW 28B.115.020 to include the definition of “underserved behavioral health area” as a geographic area, population, or facility that has a shortage of health care professionals providing behavioral health services.

Moreover, RCW 28B.115.030 is amended to establish the Behavioral Health Loan Repayment Program, which will be provided to health professionals by the Department of Health in the form of loan repayment or a conditional scholarship. This section also includes requirements for participants and distribution of loan repayment.

Additionally, the role of the planning committee within the office of student financial assistance is amended to assist in developing criteria for the selection of participants for both the health professional loan repayment and scholarship program and the behavioral health loan repayment program.

The bill delineates the program’s operations,  the responsibilities of the participants, how the loan repayment process works, the creation of the behavioral health loan repayment program account and more.

A new section is added to RCW chapter 28B.115 to form the Behavioral Health Loan Repayment Program Account in the custody of the state treasurer. Moreover, expenditures from the account may be used only for the program.

Additionally, the Student Achievement Council, in conjunction with the Department of Health, shall submit a report by December 1st, 2019, regarding the need, feasibility, and potential design of a grant program funding to behavioral health students completing unpaid pre-graduation internships and post-graduation supervised hours for licensure and provide recommendations regarding whether a grant program should be established.

Amendments:

Updated on 4.12.19:

1st substitute:

  • Changed the penalty for failing to complete the service obligation required under both the HPLRP and the BHLRP to either the unsatisfied portion of the service obligation or the total amount paid by the program on the participant's behalf, whichever is less.
  • In addition, the penalty for the conditional scholarship under the HPLRP was changed to the remaining unforgiven balance plus an equalization fee.

2nd substitute:

The bill is null and void if funding is not specifically provided in the omnibus appropriations act.

Senate (updated on 4.10.19):

The requirement that the Student Achievement Council study the need, feasibility, and potential design of a grant program to provide funding to behavioral health students completing unpaid pre-graduation internships and post-graduation supervised hours for licensure, is removed.