Residential Treatment Facilities (RTF)

Residential treatment facilities (RTF) are licensed, community-based facilities that provide 24-hour inpatient care for people with mental health and/or chemical dependency disorders in a residential treatment setting.

Licensing Information

All licensing applications are reviewed within a few days of receipt. If there is missing or incomplete information, a Department of Health staff member will notify you via the email address on the application. If you didn't provide an email address, the department will mail you a letter.

Processing time varies for each application. It depends on how complete the application is, and how quickly the licensing requirements are met.

Apply initially, amend or renew a license

Behavioral Health Treatment  Options for Adolescents

Behavioral health treatment  options for adolescents-HCA (PDF) 

EMS Guidelines Transport to Behavioral Health Facilities

The Washington State Department of Health (department), developed this guideline (PDF) to provide direction to regional emergency medical service (EMS) & trauma care councils for developing patient care procedures, local EMS councils with developing county operating procedures and EMS physician medical program directors (MPD) in developing their prehospital patient care protocols for EMS transport to behavioral health facilities.

Residential Treatment Facility Resource Guide

Resource guide (PDF)

Health Care Entity (HCE) License and Automated Drug Distribution Devices (ADDD)

Health Care Entity (HCE) License and Automated Drug Distribution Devices (ADDD) Frequently Asked Questions

Inspection Process

The state licenses more than 100 residential treatment facilities to provide care within the minimum health and safety standards established by state law. The Department of Health is required to inspect these facilities as part of the initial licensing process and at regular intervals.

Our inspection staff includes both nurses and public health advisers. Nurses assess the clinical aspects of the facility. Public health advisers inspect the physical aspects for environment of care issues. In addition, we contract with the state fire marshal to inspect for fire, life and safety standards.

Our inspectors are trained to inspect facilities to confirm compliance with appropriate state regulatory standards in Chapter 246-337 WACChapter 246-215 WAC and Chapter 71.12 RCW. They look for indications of deficiencies that pose patient safety risks.

After the inspection is completed, the facility is provided with a report indicating the standards that were met and the deficiencies that were identified. The inspection team works with the facility to explain how the deficiencies were identified and requires that the facility provide an adequate written plan for addressing the deficiencies. For example: WAC 246-341 Policy and Procedure Review Tool (PDF).

Applicable Regulations
  • Chapter 71.12 RCW – Private Establishments. In this chapter "establishment" and "institution" mean and include every private or county or municipal hospital, including public hospital districts, sanitariums, homes, or other place receiving or caring for any mentally ill, mentally incompetent person or chemically dependent person.
  • Chapter 246-337 WAC – Residential Treatment Facility. This chapter sets the minimum health and safety standards for licensure and operations of 24-hour private, county or municipal residential treatment facilities (RTF) providing healthcare services to people with mental disorders or substance abuse.
Rules in Progress

The rules writing process is open to the public. The public is welcome to take part in helping us write rules. Rules are also known as regulations, Washington Administrative Code, or WAC. The rule-making process includes public notices and workshops, and usually a public hearing before a rule becomes final.

The department has several rules in progress that impact residential treatment facilities and behavioral health professionals. You may find all of the information about these projects including official documents and notices, past meetings materials, and upcoming workshops and public hearings on this webpage.

Current rules in progress

None at this time.

Rules workshop notes and related materials

CR-101 (PDF) – announcing residential treatment facility rules are open for updating.

CR-102 (PDF) – announcing proposed pediatric transitional care services rule updates and information about commenting and about the public rules hearing on November 28, 2019.

More agency rule resources

Department of Health Rule Making State Board of Health rules Other Department rules in Washington Administrative Code Title 246

Current Topics

Contact and Connect

Contact the program or join our GovDelivery (see link below).

Program contact

RTF Program Manager

Mailing address

P.O. Box 47852
Olympia, WA 98504-7852

Physical address

Town Center 2
111 Israel Rd. S.E.
Tumwater, WA 98501


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File a complaint | Find information about the RTF inspection process | Find RTF regulations | Report an incident

Related Links

Review RTF licensing status, requirements and fees