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NEWS: King County invests $30 million to strengthen behavioral health workforce and increase access


King County Executive Dow Constantine announced an investment of $30 million in partnership with the five managed care organizations of the innovative King County Integrated Care Network, resulting in a 15 percent Medicaid rate increase to help stabilize the behavioral health system in the region. Investing in the behavioral health workforce is a key component of the Crisis Care Centers initiative and is central to King County’s efforts in addressing a crumbling behavioral health system and increasing access to services and treatment.

The 15 percent Medicaid rate increase is applicable to all Medicaid behavioral health providers and services within the King County Integrated Care Network (KCICN), and will go into effect this month, applying retroactive to January 1, 2023. The 2023 rate increase applies to all Medicaid and state funded programs, and programs where Medicaid is a part of the overall funding source. The state’s budget also invests in a 15 percent Medicaid rate increase in 2024.

“At King County, we envision a behavioral health system that is connected, accessible, and culturally responsive, and can meet the growing need for care, none of which is possible without a strong workforce,” said Executive Constantine. “Behavioral healthcare has been devalued for too long and we must stabilize and strengthen the system to meet the demand. So, we will seize this rare opportunity to address historic underfunding of the community behavioral health system. There is no question that investing these funds in the behavioral health workforce is the most impactful way to build up the overall system.”

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