Focusing on whole-person health by integrating physical and behavioral health is part of Washington's efforts to ensure that our residents experience better health, better care, and lower costs.
Behavioral Health Integration (BHI) will help provide a holistic approach to care in one system, through a cohesive network of providers. As we integrate services to treat people more effectively, our state agencies must integrate to operate most efficiently.
House Bill 1388 (PDF), signed by Governor Inslee in 2018, furthers this goal by transferring licensing and certification of mental health, substance use disorder and problem gambling treatment programs from the Department of Social and Health Services-Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DSHS-DBHR) to the Department of Health-Health Systems Quality Assurance (DOH-HSQA). The Department of Health already licenses hospital and community residential treatment facilities, and licenses the healthcare professionals providing services throughout the state.
Our goals are to improve patient safety, and to reduce administrative licensing and certification burdens of behavioral health providers and facilities by consolidating those functions within a single agency.
What changed on July 1?
There was little noticeable change for Washington residents using behavioral health services or providers as of July 1, 2018:
Department of Health (DOH) adopted emergency rules (PDF) for licensing and certification of behavioral health services effective July 1, 2018.
The Health Care Authority (HCA) has also adopted emergency rules regarding behavioral health organizations and the behavioral healthcare delivery system.
DSHS-DBHR licensing, certification and review staff members are now DOH-HSQA employees.
Mental health, substance use disorder, and problem gambling programs now receive their licenses or certifications from DOH.
BHI frequently asked questions
The Frequently Asked Questions webpage provides answers to questions you may have related to BHI.