Inpatient Psychiatric Capacity in Washington State: Assessing Future Needs and Impacts

The Washington State Institute for Public Policy (Institute) has recently posted online a two-part study of inpatient psychiatric capacity and Washington State’s Involuntary Treatment Act:

Inpatient Psychiatric Capacity in Washington State: Assessing Future Needs and Impacts (Part One) http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/rptfiles/11-07-3401.pdf
(July 2011) Mason Burley. #11-07-3401.

Inpatient Psychiatric Capacity in Washington State: Assessing Future Needs and Impacts (Part Two) http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/rptfiles/11-10-3401.pdf
(October 2011) Mason Burley. #11-10-3401.

Study Overview:
In 2010, the Washington State Legislature amended the legal guidelines for Involuntary Treatment Act (ITA) commitments to allow a Designated Mental Health Professional (DMHP) to more fully consider historical information and accounts from witnesses when making commitment decisions. These statutory changes will take effect in 2012. The Legislature directed the Institute to assess the potential impact of these changes.
Part One in this two part report addresses the first two research questions set forth by the Legislature:
1.    The extent to which the number of persons involuntarily committed is likely to increase as a result of the revised statutory guidelines, and
2.    The availability of community treatment capacity to accommodate that increase.

Part Two examines policy options under the guidelines in the final questions posed by the Legislature:
3.    Strategies for cost-effectively leveraging state, local, and private resources to increase community involuntary treatment capacity, and
4.    The extent to which increases in involuntary commitments are likely to be offset by reduced utilization of correctional facilities, publicly funded medical care, and state psychiatric hospitalizations.