Featured Article in the Washington Principal (AWSP)
In 2016, the Children’s Mental Health Workgroup formed as a result of Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 2439, which relates to increasing access to adequate and appropriate mental health services for children. The workgroup identified barriers to accessing mental health services and delivered a report to the Legislature.
Increasing student access to mental health care in K-12 schools was the workgroup’s primary recommendation; E2SHB 1713 (2017) passed as a result. This established a formal agreement between the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Health Care Authority (HCA) to implement Section six of E2SHB 1713. Specifically, OSPI was charged with developing a pilot project to study the effectiveness of a lead staff person at two competitively selected ESDs to coordinate system-wide activities supporting the State Medicaid Plan and the delivery of mental/behavioral health services to Medicaid eligible students in schools.
Capitol Region ESD 113 and NorthEast ESD 101 were selected in late September 2017 as the pilot sites for this innovative and groundbreaking work. The intended outcome will be twofold: (1) for the pilot sites to increase access to care for students in need of mental/behavioral health supports; and (2) to further investigate the benefits of having a dedicated staff person in two ESD regions available to work with local K-12 school districts to coordinate mental/behavioral health service delivery through activities supporting the State Medicaid Plan.
“The workgroup identified barriers to accessing mental health services and delivered a report to the Legislature.”
In partnership with the HCA, OSPI continues to provide technical assistance to ESDs to support allowable activity within the State Medicaid Plan for the expansion of services to Medicaid eligible students and related Medicaid billing procedures. Additionally, in June 2019, OSPI will be responsible for submitting a case study to the governor and Legislature about the outcomes and of this regional service coordination model and how easy it is to replicate.