Status Summary

First reading, referred to Health & Long Term Care on 1.29.19. Executive action taken in the Senate Committee on Health & Long Term Care at and referred to Behavioral Health Subcommittee to Health & Long Term Care on 1.30.19. Public hearing scheduled in the Senate Committee on Behavioral Health Subcommittee to Health & Long Term Care on 2.1.19. Executive action taken in the Senate Committee on Behavioral Health Subcommittee to Health & Long Term Care on 2.15.19; 1st substitute bill passed and referred to Ways & Means. Referred to Ways & Means on 2.18.19. Public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means on 2.26.19. Executive action taken in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means on 2.28.19; 2nd substitute bill passed. Passed to Rules Committee for second reading on 3.1.19. Placed on second reading by Rules Committee on 3.7.19. Placed on Third Reading and passed by the Senate on 3.7.19. In the House: First reading, referred to Civil Rights & Judiciary on 3.9.19. Public hearing in the House Committee on Civil Rights & Judiciary on 3.20.19. Executive session scheduled, but no action taken, in the House Committee on Civil Rights & Judiciary on 3.26.19. Executive action in the House Committee on Civil Rights & Judiciary on 3.28.19; majority pass with amendment(s). Referred to Appropriations on 4.2.19. Public hearing in the House Committee on Appropriations on 4.6.19. The bill did not come out of Appropriations and therefore is dead. (updated 4.12.19)

Legislative Session



In Progress



It is the intent of the legislature to enhance continuity of care for persons with serious behavioral health disorders that can be controlled or stabilized in a less restrictive alternative commitment.

Some definitions are proposed in the new legislation, such as changing mental health to behavioral health and chemical dependency to substance use disorder.

Further, the law proposes that:

·         "Behavioral health disorder" means either a mental disorder as defined in this section, a substance use disorder as defined in this section, or a co-occurring mental disorder and substance use disorder;

·         "Severe deterioration from safe behavior" means that a person will, if not treated, suffer or continue to suffer severe and abnormal mental, emotional, or physical distress, and this distress is associated with significant impairment of judgment, reason, or37 behavior; and

·         "Written order of apprehension" means an order of the court for a peace officer to deliver the named person in the order to a facility or emergency room as determined by the designated crisis responder. Such orders shall be entered into the Washington crime information center database.

 Amends to include (in bold) that, beginning on March 29, 2006, with some exceptions, counties, behavioral health organizations, and entities which contract to provide behavioral health organization services and their subcontractors, agents, or employees shall have no claim for declaratory relief, injunctive relief, judicial review under chapter 34.05 RCW, or civil liability against the state or state agencies for actions or inactions performed pursuant to the administration of this chapter with regard to the following:

(a) The allocation or payment of federal or state funds;

(b) the use or allocation of state hospital beds; or

 (c)financial responsibility for the provision of inpatient

behavioral health disorder treatment and care.

*Companion bill: HB 1814*


Updated on 4.12.19:

1st substitute:

  • Delayed expansion of single-bed certifications to include detention based on a substance use disorder until July 1, 2026.
  • Modified amendments to the definitions of "likelihood of serious harm" and "violent act."
  • Limited the role of a facility in serving and filing ITA papers to circumstances in which the person is detained from another county at the request of the DCR.
  • Established an Involuntary Treatment Work Group to review impact of the act and vulnerabilities in the crisis system.

2nd substitute:

  • Delays the effective date of amendments expanding the time for initial detention from 72 hours to 5 days until January 1, 2020.
  • Expands the mandate of the Involuntary Treatment Act Work Group to provide implementation recommendations for the expansion of initial detention to five days, adds providers who accept single-bed certifications, and extends the work group until June 30, 2021.
  • Requests, instead of commands, the courts to make rules regarding access to court records relating to involuntary treatment.
  • Removes recognition of involuntary treatment courts as therapeutic courts.

House Committee (Updated on 4.12.19):

The amended bill:

  • Provides that a designated crisis responder (DCR) may perform evaluations by video provided that a licensed health care professional or professional person is present.
  • "Video" is defined as the delivery of behavioral health services through the use of interactive audio and visual technology permitting real-time communication between a person and a DCR for the purpose of evaluation.
    • The term does not include the use of audio-only telephone, facsimile, electronic mail, or store and forward technology.
  • "Store and forward technology" is defined as the use of an asynchronous transmission of a person's medical information from a mental health service provider to a DCR, which results in medical diagnosis, consultation, or treatment.
  • Technical corrections are made to align amended language in sections with multiple effective dates.

An obsolete definition of "information related to behavioral health" in the adult and minor Involuntary Treatment Act is removed.