King and 27 other counties sue state for failure to provide evaluation and treatment for patients with behavioral health conditions

Monday, October 9, 2023

Photo from Seattle Municipal Archives
A Pierce County judge ruled in favor of a lawsuit brought by 28 counties, including King County, and the Washington State Association of Counties against the Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). 

The judge ordered the state to immediately evaluate patients with behavioral health conditions and provide sufficient community notice when releasing patients from treatment.

The lawsuit holds the state accountable for fulfilling its obligation to evaluate and treat patients with behavioral health conditions, reducing further strain on a crumbling behavioral health system that the state legislature and local governments are actively working to restore.

“Today’s ruling affirms the state's basic obligation to evaluate the behavioral health needs of people in the legal system who can not be tried because they lack the ability to aid in their own defense, and to give them an opportunity for meaningful treatment. 
"It does not, of course, solve the very real capacity problems in the behavioral health system born of long-term funding and workforce shortages,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. 
“With today’s ruling, counties across Washington can move forward with greater clarity, working with the state and other jurisdictions on the funding and strategies to meet the needs of the people we all serve.”

Under the order granted this morning by Judge Michael Schwartz, DSHS is immediately required to perform its statutory obligation to evaluate all new conversion patients – those for whom criminal charges were dismissed after they were found incompetent and non-restorable. 

It also requires DSHS to provide proper notice when releasing existing conversion patients, which is important for patient well-being and community safety.

Following the filing of a lawsuit in August by King County and 21 other counties against the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), the Pierce County Superior Court granted the motion for a preliminary injunction. 

Another six counties will be joining the suit. The 28 plaintiff counties represent over 7 million Washington residents.


Post a Comment

We encourage the thoughtful sharing of information and ideas. We expect comments to be civil and respectful, with no personal attacks or offensive language. We reserve the right to delete any comment.
Facebook: Shoreline Area News
Twitter: @ShorelineArea
Daily Email edition (don't forget to respond to the email)

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by 2009

Back to TOP