The 2021 Washington State Legislative Session began on January 11, 2021 with a different feel from prior years, as the Legislative Session will be mostly held virtually this year. In this session, Democrats hold a majority in both chambers. Now, a few weeks into the legislative session, there are promising bills on the table relating to increased mental healthcare access for Washingtonians, updates to licensure laws, and specific focus on integrating Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DE&I) awareness and action into policy. In addition to these developments, the threat to our profession is great this upcoming year. WA state is facing a $4.5 billion dollar deficit and will look to save costs where they can. One area may be mental health services. On the horizon, policymakers have sought to create a lesser credential (Peer Specialist) that may be reimbursed at lower rates for the same services as offered by Masters Level clinicians. While the reduced reimbursement will address the deficit at least at first, the diminished efficacy of lesser trained individuals providing mental health treatment is a threat to our public well being and a threat to the practice of MFT and other mental health disciplines in WA state. WAMFT will advocate to protect the scope of our practice, and we invite you to become involved in this fight through our Advocacy Network.
Read full update here.