Behavioral Health

Behavioral health is an integral part of overall wellness, and all hospital care settings need the necessary resources to best serve this patient population.  

The behavioral health safety and quality program supports hospitals across care settings to improve identification, treatment, and recovery services for individuals with mental health and substance use disorders. This goal is met by providing education on behavioral health best practices, leading learning roundtable events for behavioral health hospital leadership, and using data to inform and advance behavioral health improvement across the state.

Incorporating Health Equity into Behavioral Health

Quality care cannot be achieved without equity (fair and just opportunities to achieve health). WSHA views patient engagement and health equity as cross-cutting approaches touching every aspect of patient safety and quality improvement work. Each quality improvement initiative should include the patient’s partnership and address the unique needs and preferences of historically marginalized populations. Examples of engagement and equity for this strategy include:

  • Identifying strategies for integrating patient voice in educational offerings. Behavioral health patients, such as individuals with a substance use disorder seeking care in the emergency department or patients with eating disorders, often experience marginalization when receiving care due to various forms of stigma. Patient speakers have offered their experiences firsthand, and topics are chosen to educate hospital staff about the harm caused by unaddressed stigma.
  • Creating opportunities where hospitals who are leading the way in addressing health disparities in behavioral health treatment can share their learnings and best practices with other leaders. Previous learning opportunities include best practices for caring for neurodiverse patients and quality improvement projects to examine disparities in restraint use.
  • Partnering with both hospitals and community resources to advance access to naloxone for individuals at risk of an overdose.

Getting Started

Hospitals are uniquely positioned to support patients with behavioral health needs and WSHA offers a variety of opportunities to get engaged in this important work through connecting with other behavioral health leaders across the state, participating in education events on behavioral health topics, and submitting data for behavioral health measures on the Medicaid Quality Incentive program.

Inpatient Behavioral Health Roundtable

Washington inpatient behavioral health hospital leadership are invited to participate in this monthly roundtable. The goal of this community is to improve patient outcomes by sharing knowledge, establishing peer networks, encouraging innovation, and collaborating to solve problems. If you are interested in joining this monthly meeting, please contact Brittany Weiner.

Behavioral Health Webinars

Topical webinars are offered periodically to advance education about behavioral health best practices and provide implementation support and resources. These webinars are open to all hospitals and care settings, and are intended for broad audiences. Previous topics have included overdose prevention strategies, trauma informed care, and the impact of COVID on behavioral health. To be notified of future events, please sign up for the behavioral health mailing list or see the WSHA Events Calendar.

Support for Rural Hospitals

Rural hospitals face unique challenges providing behavioral health care. The WSHA behavioral health safety and quality program supports rural members by offering educational opportunities, technical assistance, and collaborative problem solving to ensure all individuals in rural communities can access appropriate care.

Behavioral Health Policy Issues

In addition to supporting safety and quality behavioral health initiatives, WSHA staff also monitor behavioral health legislative priorities, pro-actively advocate for policies in the best interest of both patients and hospitals, and regularly disseminate information about how these policies impact hospital operations. For more information, please see recent bulletins or contact Ryan Robertson.  


Mental Health Advance Directive Toolkit (last updated May 2022) – This document is intended to support hospitals in effective policy and training implementation related to Mental Health Advance Directives and will be updated as new materials become available.

Mental Health Advance Directive Patient Flyer – This flyer is appropriate for patients and their families. It provides a general overview of the Mental Health Advance Directive, answers frequently asked questions, and notes relevant community resources.

HCA Toolkit for Naloxone Distribution in Emergency Departments – This toolkit was created to support hospitals in complying with 2SSB 5195, which requires all emergency departments to dispense naloxone to individuals at risk of an opioid overdose. If you would like additional support in implementing this mandate, please contact Brittany Weiner.


Contact Us

Washington State Hospital Association
999 Third Avenue
Suite 1400
Seattle, WA 98104

Map / Directions

206.281.7211 phone
206.283.6122 fax

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