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Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: psychiatric boarding

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December 29, 2014 at 6:20 AM

Who is your unsung hero of the year? Here’s mine

The media’s year-end “Person of the Year” ritual honors headline-grabbing deeds, good or bad. I’m more interested in the behind-the-scenes folks who did something amazing, without the public kudos. Who’s your unsung hero of the year?

Craig Adams gets my vote. As a Pierce County Superior Court commissioner, Adams single-handedly kicked off a court case that is dramatically reforming Washington’s beleaguered mental health system. He’s gotten almost no credit. In fact, he was second-guessed by state lawyers all the way to the state Supreme Court.

But he was right. A Seattle Times editorial on Friday criticized what’s known as psychiatric boarding. That wouldn’t have happened, at least so quickly, without the work of Adams.

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Comments | Topics: mental health, psychiatric boarding

September 15, 2014 at 6:32 AM

Rare good news for state mental health system

Since the state Supreme Court’s “psychiatric boarding” ruling last month, the news has been all bad for the state. The ruling requires Gov. Jay Inslee’s administration to find at least 145 new beds, or else patients who need involuntary psychiatric care could be cut loose, without treatment, to the streets.

The view from  the King County Superior court room at Harborview Medical Center where  involuntary commitment cases are heard. (Mike Seigal / Seattle Times)

The view from the King County Superior court room at Harborview Medical Center where involuntary commitment cases are heard. (Mike Seigal / Seattle Times)

That task is so big that the Department of Social and Health Services had to get an unusual 120-day stay on the court’s ruling. And it’s so expensive that Inslee authorized $30 million in un-budgeted mental health funding, just to get through 2014.

Last week, the state finally got some good news. DSHS got word that it obtained a waiver from what’s known as the “IMD exclusion,” an arcane 1960’s-era rule that bans Medicaid from paying for psychiatric hospitalizations in facilities larger than 16 beds.

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Comments | Topics: mental health, psychiatric boarding, state Legislature

August 25, 2014 at 6:02 AM

3-minute recap: Video chat on problems, solutions for Washington’s mental health system

In case you missed last Thursday’s Google+ On Air Hangout on mental health care here in Washington state, here’s a three-minute highlight video from the nearly 45-minute long online chat. [do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”3744415667001″/] Watch the full replay and read The Seattle Times editorial board’s week-long series of editorials, which shine a bright light on the successes…

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Comments | Topics: mental health, psychiatric boarding, Seattle