Working to transform the child welfare system.

SB 5054: Increasing the behavioral health workforce by establishing a reciprocity program to increase the portability of behavioral health licenses and certifications

This bill adds sections in chapters 43.70 RCW and 18.225 RCW regarding increasing the behavioral health workforce and establishing a reciprocity program. 

Sec. 1 proposes a reciprocity program for applicants for licensure or certification as a behavioral health professional. The program will apply to individuals who:

·      Hold or have held a license/certification within the past 12 months that is in good standing from another state/territory in the U.S.

·      Have no disciplinary record or disqualifying criminal history.

This section also proposes a probationary license or certification to an applicant who meets the requirements of sec. 1 and allows the department to determine whether the applicant requires additional training. The department must also maintain and publish a list of foreign licenses/certifications that are accepted.

Sec. 2 establishes options for adoption of an interstate compact or compacts supporting license portability.


House Amendments (updated 4.12.19):

  • Added psychologists to the reciprocity program.
  • Psychologists and chemical dependency professionals are added to the provisions directing the Department of Health to explore options related to interstate compacts.
  • Applies the reciprocity program to applicants from other states or territories with substantially equivalent or greater scope of practice to Washington’s, rather than an equivalent scope of practice or greater.
  • Persons with a probationary credential are limited to only practicing in licensed or certified behavioral health service providers.
  • The Department of Health must prioritize identifying the five states or territories that have historically had the most applicants for reciprocity with a scope of practice that is substantially equivalent to or greater than the scope in Washington.

Relocates the reciprocity program to the chapters for the respective professions.