Status Summary

First reading, referred to Health & Long Term Care on 2.13.19.  Executive action taken in the Senate Committee on Health & Long Term Care on 2.13.19. Referred to Behavioral Health Subcommittee to Health & Long Term Care on 2.13.19. Public hearing and executive action taken in the Senate Committee on Behavioral Health Subcommittee to Health & Long Term Care on 2.22.1; 1st substitute bill passed and referred to Ways & Means. Public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means on 2.27.19. 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.2nd substitute bill substituted. Rules suspended. Placed on Third Reading. Passed on third reading on 3.12.19. In the House: First reading, referred to Human Services & Early Learning on 3.14.19. (Not Officially read and referred until adoption of Introduction report) (updated 3.15.19)

Legislative Session



In Progress



SB 5903 emphasizes the need to implement the policies reviewed and recommended by the Children’s Mental Health Work Group. The legislature acknowledges a workforce shortage of behavioral health professionals and a need to increase the cultural and linguistic diversity among these health professionals. This act implement the recommendations adopted by the work group in January 2019 to improve mental health access for children and their families.

This act adds a new section to RCW chapter 28A.310 that includes the requirements for each educational service district to provide schools, including:

  • support for school district development and implementation of plans for responses to emotional and/or behavioral distress in students;
  • facilitating partnerships and coordination between school districts and local systems of behavioral health care services in order to increase access;
  • Identifying, sharing, and integrating, to the extent practicable, behavioral and physical health care service delivery models;
  • Providing Medicaid billing related training, technical assistance, and coordination between school districts; and
  • guidance in implementing best practices in response and recovery to suicide and/or attempted suicide.

Section 3 establishes that the Health Care Authority (HCA), the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Seattle Children’s Hospital, and OSPI must develop a plan to implement a two-year pilot program for schools called “The Partnership Access Line for Schools.” The program must be implemented by January 1st, 2020, and support two educational service districts.

The program must:

  • develop a general behavioral health support curriculum;
  • deliver behavioral health trainings;
  • provide school staff who participated in said trainings access to telephone consultations with mental health professionals; and
  • provide timely crisis management appointments.

The HCA shall submit a report describing the services delivered and recommendations by December 1, 2022.

A new section is added to RCW chapter 28A.415 requiring school districts to use one of the professional learning days to train staff in mental health first aid, suicide prevention, social-emotional learning, trauma-informed care, and anti-bullying strategies beginning in the 2019-20 school year. RCW chapter 28A.300 also includes a new section establishing that the OSPI shall provide mental health literacy and healthy relationship instructional materials for school districts.

RCW chapter 28B.20 will have a new section which specifies that the UW shall establish certificate programs in evidence-based practices for behavioral health care professionals in order to treat adolescents and young adults with mental health disorders. The HCA shall also collaborate with the UW and a professional association of licensed community behavioral health agencies to develop a statewide plan to implement evidence-based coordinated care programs by March 1st, 2020.

SB 5903 directs the child and adolescent psychiatry residency programs at the UW and WSU to offer an additional residency position for medical students specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry.

The bill also directs the health care authority to collaborate with the UW and a professional association of licensed community behavioral health agencies to develop a statewide plan to implement evidence based coordinated specialty care programs that provide early identification and intervention for psychosis in licensed and certified community behavioral health agencies.  The plan is due to the legislature and governor by March 1, 2020.

The bill further directs the UW to convene a work group of educators and researchers to develop a statewide multi-tiered system of school supports that includes academic, social-emotional, and behavioral supports.  The bill delineates the organizations that need to be included and states that the findings and recommendations must be submitted to the legislature and governor by Nov. 1, 2020.

Additionally, RCW 43.216.745 is amended to include subsection (2)(a)(b)(c) which specify that the DCYF must develop an infant and early childhood mental health consultation model for children ages birth-5 and provide the model by November 1st, 2019. This model must be culturally competent and thus requires consultation with public and private partners. Further, DCYF must phase in service delivery in at least 2 regions by July 1st, 2020, and provide full statewide implementation by December 31st, 2023.

Finally, the bill directs the health care authority to provide an online training for behavioral health providers regarding state law and best practices when providing behavioral health services to children, youth and families.  The training must be free and include information related to parent-initiated treatment, minor initiated treatment, and other treatment services under this chapter.  It also requires the health care authority to conduct an annual survey of parents, youth, and behavioral health providers to measure the impacts of implementing policies resulting from the enactment of the parent initiated treatment law.

*Companion to HB 1876*


Updated 2/26/19:

  • Section 5 now reads that OSPI must identify and provide mental health literacy and healthy relationship instructional materials to school districts to use as guidelines for student instruction in these subjects;
  • Section 6 clarifies that participants in the certificate programs are eligible to apply for the state Health Care Professional Loan Repayment and Conditional Scholarship program;
  • Section 7 states that the implementation of another residency at UW is accelerated from July 1, 2020, to the effective date of this act. The minimum amount of training for these psychiatric residency programs is increased from 12 to 18 months; and
  • Modifies language in section 11 to from “child care” to “infant and early childhood mental health” consultation program liking “early learning” providers with evidence-based, trauma-informed, and best practice resources.