OLYMPIA – Washington State has committed significant resources to address the workforce challenges of licensed behavioral health treatment agencies. The Health Care Authority (HCA) has begun distribution of a $100 million workforce provider relief fund.
The funds came from the 2022 Washington State supplemental community behavioral health budget and can be used for immediate workforce retention and recruitment, costs incurred due to COVID-19, childcare stipends, or provider recruitment efforts. In addition, in January 2023, behavioral health treatment providers will begin receiving a 7 percent increase in their Medicaid reimbursement rates.
To be eligible for the funds, licensed community behavioral health agency treatment providers needed to be contracted and received payments through a managed care organization or behavioral health administrative service organization. Eligible agencies have already been notified.
“These funds will help to relieve the workforce pressure that has been experienced by so many of our behavioral health providers during the last two years,” said Keri Waterland, the state authority on behavioral health and director of HCA’s Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery. “We have a deep appreciation for the behavioral health providers in our state who have continued to provide essential services throughout the pandemic, with an increase in service need and workforce challenges.”
HCA will start issuing payments on Friday, September 30.
The agency appreciates the leadership of the of the Governor’s Office and Legislature and their commitment to improving access to behavioral health resources. We are hopeful these new investments will help stabilize the current workforce and increase some needed service capacity across the state.
For more information about provider relief funds, visit https://www.hca.wa.gov/billers-providers-partners/program-information-providers/contractor-and-provider-resources.