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Priorities 2024

Fund the acquisition of properties for recovery housing with the capital budget


While Washington state has made significant investments to expand access to recovery housing under the operating budget, there has been no investment in recovery housing using capital budget funds. Many recovery residences are owned by private landlords and rented by recovery housing providers. This priority proposes to use the capital budget to fund the acquisition of properties for recovery housing so that financial equity can be built and used to purchase more properties for this purpose. 

Ricky's Law reform: Ease roadblocks to expand utilization of involuntary commitment for substance use disorder


There have been many challenges reported around using Ricky’s Law to involuntarily commit an individual with life-threatening substance use disorder to receive treatment services. Through gathering feedback in stakeholder meetings, new policy reforms are needed to remove barriers in order to increase the utilization of involuntary treatment for people with substance use challenges in urgent need. 


Amend the certified peer specialist statute established in SB 5555 to re-add section 4 to create a Peer Advisory Committee that was vetoed by the Governor


SB 5555 focused on creating the profession of certified peer specialists and was adopted during the last legislative session, but the Governor vetoed section 4, which sought to establish a Peer Advisory Committee led by peers to oversee this new profession. We seek to amend the certified peer specialist statute established in SB 5555 to re-add the entirety of section 4 from the original legislation so that peers are able to have a voice and decision-making authority around their own profession. 


Proposed legislation on inpatient SUD treatment reform with changes to discharge criteria, MOUD access, and insurance coverage


Proposed bill that requires treatment providers to offer education on all available treatment options and medications for opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder, prohibit insurance companies from denying SUD care based on length of sobriety and from denying continued care based on length of time in treatment, and limiting circumstances in which someone can be removed from treatment.


Amend the harm reduction language enacted under SB 5536 to address concerns with siting issues and legal protections for harm reduction providers


SB 5536, also known as the Blake Bill, gives cities and counties the ability to regulate harm reduction services as they see fit, which can include banning certain services. By amending the harm reduction language, we can ensure that harm reduction service providers are legally protected and ensure these lifesaving programs are able to operate. 


Designating and funding a lead agency for school-based behavioral health


Designate a statewide leadership authority for student behavioral health and well-being, with a mandate to ensure student access to a continuum of effective behavioral health services in school and interconnected community settings. Provide funding to the leadership authority to act on that mandate.


Finance behavioral health care coordination as performed by community health workers 


Fund care coordination activities performed by Community Health Workers (CHWs) under the supervision of licensed providers to address the behavioral, emotional, social, and developmental needs of children on Apple Health (Medicaid). Approximately 43% of children with mental health conditions require coordination beyond what occurs during their visits to ensure they successfully navigate from screening to services, carry out the care plan, and adjust the care plan as needs change. Almost half of these needs are currently going unmet. Primary care providers and behavioral health professionals are straining to coordinate care for the kids who need it, which compromises the care delivered. CHWs, who bring a wealth of community experience and for whom no professional degree is required, can do much of this work and be a tremendous help to overwhelmed primary care providers and behavioral health professionals. By providing a sustainable source of funding for CHWs, the state could increase capacity and ensure that children are receiving care that is culturally appropriate and responsive to their needs.

For any questions about the policy priorities listed here,

please contact the Washington Recovery Alliance Director of Advocacy and Programs, Tristan Seikel.

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