County hospital will retain license during transition

In an agreement reached yesterday with the Department of Health, Pierce County will retain its license as a psychiatric hospital while it continues to move towards its goal of becoming a Residential Treatment Facility.

“The Department of Health understands what we’re trying to do and supports the process,” said Fran Lewis, Director, Pierce County Human Services.

Pierce County is also working towards certification and accreditation for its new Secure Detox program, scheduled to open in early March. The agreement would allow Pierce County to keep its current license and move forward on both the Secure Detox program and the Residential Treatment Facility. In exchange, Pierce County agrees not to admit patients to the Residential Treatment Facility until that license is received.

This agreement will ultimately allow Pierce County to serve the public in a more cost efficient method, while continuing a high quality of patient service. Pierce County will incur no costs related to the hospital licensing while completing the application for Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) licensing from DOH.
“We had a plan all along to provide quality mental health care more cost-effectively. Now, that plan is back on track,” stated Lyle Quasim, Pierce County Chief of Staff.

As an RTF, licensed by DOH and certified by the state Mental Health Division, Pierce County will admit involuntary patients for 72-hour emergency detention and treat people involuntarily on 14-day court commitments. It will also accept voluntary patients who meet medical necessity criteria for inpatient mental health treatment.

The Secure Detoxification program, under the RTF license, will give Pierce County authority to detain individuals who require intense, secure substance abuse intervention and provide a 16-bed secure detox as well as an “integrated crisis response” utilizing the RSN’s current Mobile Outreach Crisis Team. Designated crisis responders will be able to detain people who are a danger to themselves, to others, or who are gravely disabled in the community due to substance abuse as well as mental health issues. Professionals at the Secure Detox will provide up to 17 days of intervention including assessment and treatment referral for co-occurring substance abuse and mental health issues.