Bill Consolidates Behavioral Healthcare

In Olympia, a push is on to streamline and economize on the delivery of mental and physical healthcare services for Medicaid patients.  Dan Frizzell from the Washington State House Democratic Caucus has more.

With healthcare costs skyrocketing, states throughout the country are looking for ways to add efficiency and effectiveness to the way public dollars are invested. Washington has been in the forefront, and legislation to accelerate the process is on the fast track at the state Capitol this session.  Representative Eileen Cody chairs the House Healthcare & Wellness Committee.

CODY: “It’s not acceptable to people that they would go to a hospital and not be able to get their broken leg fixed, so I don’t understand why it’s been acceptable that you can’t go into the hospital and expect and receive psychiatric care. So I think that’s one of the societal changes that we need to make.”

The West Seattle Democrat, one of the longest-serving lawmakers at the Capitol, wants to consolidate behavioral and physical healthcare delivery for low-income patients by next year, and in the process standardize long-term involuntary inpatient care in community and state hospitals. Her bill to do just that comes up for a public hearing Wednesday before the panel writing the state budget in the House. Reporting from Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.