WCAAP, Behavioral Health and COVID-19

We share WCAAP members’ concerns about children and teens’ behavioral health during the pandemic, and want to assure you that we are bringing your concerns to the table in every available venue at the state level.

WCAAP has been actively involved in discussions with the Department of Health, Health Care Authority, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and other partners and we are in continuing conversations with relevant stakeholders and the Northwest Healthcare Response Network (NWHRN) about the crisis in kids’ behavioral health. WCAAP members sit on the legislature’s Children and Youth Behavioral Health Work Group (CYBHWG) and chapter members and staff also participate in the Rates subgroup, Prenatal-to-Five subgroup, and the Behavioral Health Integration subgroup, which is co-chaired by WCAAP executive director Sarah Rafton. The CYBHWG makes policy recommendations to the legislature each year, and our participation and leadership in that group ensures there is a pediatric perspective represented.

WCAAP will also continue to advocate with the state legislature for policies to help address the problem, including increasing Medicaid rates to parity with Medicare and securing funding for the PAL-run Washington Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens. Our efforts are strengthened thanks to alignment with the CYBHWG and the Governor’s office, as a Medicaid rate increase for behavioral health counseling and funding for the PAL referral line were the top two priorities of CYBHWG and in the Governor’s budget.

We encourage you to help us advocate on these issues! You can sign up to testify, register for Advocacy Day, and keep an eye out for our action alerts during the legislative session.

In addition to WCAAP’s collection of behavioral health resources, you may also find AAP’s most recent Town Hall (January 7) and this resource helpful: Supporting Emotional and Behavioral Health Needs During the COVID-19 Pandemic