Working to transform the child welfare system.

HB 1729: Establishing a streamlined process to increase the capacity of certain mental health providers to offer substance use disorder treatment

HB 1729 adds a new section to RCW chapter 18.205 which requires for the Department of Health to develop training standards for the certification of the following health care providers as chemical dependency counselors:

·         Psychologists licensed under RCW chapter 18.83;

·         Independent LCSWs licensed under RCW chapter 18.225;

·         MFTs licensed under RCW chapter 18.225; and

·         Mental health counselors licensed under RCW chapter 18.225.

 In regard to training standards, they must consist of a maximum of 35 hours of instruction in the following topics:

·         Understanding addiction;

·         Pharmacological action of alcohol and other drugs;

·         Understanding addiction placement, continuing care, and discharge criteria;

·         Treatment planning;

·         Relapse prevention; and

·         Confidentiality issues specific to substance use disorder treatment.

Section 2 of HB 1729 states that beginning on July 1st, 2020, DOH must contract with an educational program to offer the training developed. Further, the program shall offer the training at a reduced cost to health care providers identified in section 1, and must offer the training online on an ongoing basis and in person at least 4 times per calendar year. In addition, DOH shall contract with an entity to provide a telephonic consultation service to assist health care providers who have been issued a chemical dependency professional certification. Finally, the department shall identify supervisors who are trained and available to supervise persons seeking to meet the supervised experience requirements listed under RCW 18.205.090.

 Moreover, RCW 18.205.090 is amended to include that the Secretary must issue a certificate to any applicant who meets section 1 of this bill and has submitted:

·         Proof of successful completion of a training program;

·         Proof of successful completion of an examination; and

·         Proof of successful completion of experience requirement of:

o   80 hours of supervised experience for an applicant who has held a license listed under (b)(i) for less than 5 years; or

o   40 hours of supervised experience for an applicant who has held a license listed under (b)(i) for 5 years or more.

Finally, new sections are added to RCW chapters 18.83 and 18.225 to require DOH to reduce the total number of supervised experience hours required.

Sections 1-3 of this act shall take effect on July 1st, 2020.

*Companion to SB 5715*