HB1504 modifies the Workforce Education Investment Act and makes appropriations to strengthen coordinated investments in the behavioral health workforce and meet the growing need for behavioral health services in Washington.
Components of the bill include:
Increases the cap for the Workforce Education Investment surcharge that is imposed on select advanced computing businesses from $9 million annually to $20 million annually.
Adds workforce education as an allowable use of the Workforce Education Investment Account.
Invests in the areas of greatest need include but are not limited to:
(1) Behavioral health apprenticeships;
(2) Children's mental health professionals;
(3) Peer counselors;
(4) Crisis hotline agents;
(5) Behavioral health residencies for professionals such as psychiatrists and pharmacists;
(6) Substance use disorder professionals;
(7) Community mental health workers; (8) Social workers.
From the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022, to June 30, 2023, $4 million shall be appropriated from the Workforce Education Investment Account for the purposes of increasing loan repayment awards within the behavioral health loan repayment program.
Additionally, for the biennium ending June 2023, $900,000 shall also be appropriated from the Workforce Education Investment Account for the purpose of establishing a behavioral health workforce pilot program and training support grants for community mental health and substance abuse treatment providers.
The Workforce Education Investment account shall be created in the state treasury. Moneys in the account may be spent only after appropriation.
Substitute Bill Compared to Original:
- Removes the increase on the Workforce Education Investment Surcharge cap. In addition, the cap limiting state match dollars for the WSOS was increased to $2 million, rather than being eliminated. Last, additional behavioral health professions were listed in the intent section and in the behavioral health workforce pilot program.
- Adds workforce education as an allowable use of the Workforce Education Investment Account.
- Requires the Health Care Authority to establish a behavioral health workforce pilot program and provide training support grants to community mental health and substance use disorder treatment providers.
- Increases the cap on state match dollars for the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship Advanced Degrees Pathways Account to $2 million per biennium.