Delivering high-quality health care to patients means treating the whole patient. Washington’s health care system ably handles visible contusions, infections and diseases. However, it’s sometimes the ailments that are hidden from sight that need our help the most.
We are spending all of May recognizing Mental Health Month and the importance of mental health care in our state. You have likely seen the almost daily news stories about mental health, both nationally and locally, and the news is often heartbreaking. We are forced to really see how hard it is for patients to access the care they need.
But we at WSHA are working hard to stop admiring the problem, and focus on solutions. Mental health is at the heart of our recent policy and advocacy work, and it was the absolute top priority for us in the 2016 legislative session. Legislators from both parties and across the state committed to millions in new investments to improve mental health care, and we’re grateful for the compassion and understanding.
The state is not alone in investing in better care. WSHA members are expanding services and adding hundreds of new mental health beds to our state.
- In Seattle, Swedish Ballard will open its new psychiatric unit this week, bringing 22 psychiatric beds to the hospital.
- In Pierce County, MultiCare Health System and CHI Franciscan Health System are working together to construct a new 120-bed psychiatric hospital.
- Providence Health Services and Fairfax Behavioral Health are teaming up in Spokane on a new psychiatric hospital to bring 100 new beds to the east side of the state.
- Community hospitals are also doing their part to meet the needs in their communities. For example, Sunnyside Community Hospital’s proposed expansion will bring 10 new psychiatric beds to Yakima County.
We now have more staffed psychiatric beds available than we have had any time in the last 10 years.
We’re proud of the work being done in our state to improve mental health care, and we’re going to continue to work with legislators, partners and members to ensure everyone has access to the care they need — inside or out.
President and CEO
Executive Vice President