Late yesterday, the House unanimously passed legislation (HB 1593) to launch plans to establish a new behavioral health innovation and integration campus within the University of Washington School of Medicine and in coordination with the UW’s health sciences schools. The proposal directs the UW to plan for a new teaching facility with a capacity for 150 patients and the ability to train current and future health care providers to address the urgent need for mental health and substance abuse treatment across the state.
Speaker Frank Chopp prime sponsored the bill – his first prime sponsored legislation in 20 years – and spoke briefly, but passionately, about the importance of the proposal. Before asking for support, he highlighted the personal impacts of our state’s mental health crisis and noted that we need “more care for the people of our state and more caregivers.” Rep. Richard DeBolt also stood to speak in favor of the legislation. He spoke to the passion of Speaker Chopp and the need to address Washington’s mental health crisis now. He said it is a privilege to be able to support the proposal because “it is a solution for the future.”
The proposal will now head to the Senate for consideration.