Senate passes bill to increase accountability of DSHS’s Division of Behavioral Health & Recovery


The Senate passed a bill Wednesday which would require stricter oversight of the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery within the state Department of Social and Health Services. DBHR is responsible for licensing, inspecting and certifying behavioral-health providers who manage outpatient drug and alcohol services.


Sponsored by Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, Substitute Senate Bill 5705 is a response to a scandal of bribery, corruption, falsified documents and fraud uncovered during investigations of counseling agencies contracted with the state to provide drug and alcohol counseling to people ordered into treatment by the courts.


SSB 5705, which passed with a bipartisan vote of 35-14, would implement stricter oversight of settlement agreements between DBHR and counseling providers by prohibiting settlements intended to reduce the number of violations in order to avoid litigation. Any proposed reductions would need to be substantiated by evidence showing compliance with a DBHR corrective-action plan and would need to sufficiently justify the request to reduce the violations


SSB 5705 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.