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9/20/2012

Merged mental health services organization opens October 1

Contact

Geoff Knapp, Community Services
Phone: (360) 397-2130 ext. 7844
Fax: (360) 397-6028
geoff.knapp@clark.wa.gov

Vancouver, WA – Washington State’s Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR) has approved an inter-local agreement between Clark, Cowlitz and Skamania counties to combine administration and coordination of the region’s public mental health services. The new entity, commencing operation Monday, Oct. 1, is called Southwest Washington Behavioral Health Regional Support Network.

The state proposed in November 2011 to reduce the number of Regional Support Networks (RSNs) across the state from 13 to six as a way to save the state money and to prepare for health care reform. Legislature then passed HB 2139 calling for RSNs to be reduced on a voluntary basis and without having to compete with private entities.

Clark and Cowlitz County RSNs, along with Skamania County, determined it would be in the best interest of consumers to form one multi-county RSN.
Services to existing consumers in the three counties will not be disrupted.

Goals of the new organization include:

  • Regional implementation of best, promising, evidence-based, recovery-oriented, and culturally competent practices for children and adults.
  • Standardization and improvement of data collection on consumer and system process and outcome variables.
  • Positioning for health care reform by developing organizational capacity to respond and adapt rapidly to new system requirements and opportunities (e.g. behavioral health/primary care integration.)
  • Commitment to maintaining and improving local systems of health care service delivery responsive to Southwest Washington’s distinct communities, cultures, resources and needs.
  • Local responsiveness to the needs of the people of each participating county and tribal jurisdiction, including Clark County, Cowlitz County, Skamania County, and the Cowlitz Tribe, as well as any additional jurisdictions that may join over time.

The entity has a governing board consisting of three members. Current representatives include Commissioner Marc Boldt, Clark County; Commissioner George Raiter, Cowlitz County and Commissioner Paul Pearce, Skamania County.

Primary business for the new entity will be conducted at the Center for Community Health, 1601 E. Fourth Plain Blvd., Building #17, Vancouver, WA, 98666.

As of Oct. 1, SWBH may be contacted at the following: P.O. Box 664, Vancouver WA 98666; (360) 397-8222; (360) 397-6128 (FAX); (855) 397-8222 (toll-free); http://www.swbh.org.

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