O’Ban bill aimed to improve behavioral health care signed by governor

On Tuesday Governor Inslee signed a measure sponsored by Sen. O’Ban that seeks to improve behavioral health care in Washington state.

SB 6491 would simplify and reduce eligibility criteria for assisted outpatient mental health treatment to make it more accessible and broaden the scope to include substance use disorder treatment.

“We can’t wait until a patient’s substance use addiction, or mental health condition, deteriorates to the point of involuntary treatment to get them care, said O’Ban, R-University Place. “We need this tool to keep them in the community and involve a judge to help get their attention and order treatment before it’s too late.”

This measure would allow for stronger enforcement of court orders for assisted outpatient treatment by placing a person who is struggling in a facility for inpatient treatment. This bill would also allow family members, guardians or conservators of a person who is not detained or committed but struggling with a substance use disorder to file a request that the court require the filing of a petition for assisted outpatient behavioral health treatment for that individual.

SB 6491 will go into effect on April 1.