SEATTLE, Wash. – State officials plan to add more psychiatric beds to start meeting a state Supreme Court ruling that prohibited the warehousing of mentally ill patients in emergency rooms.
The high court ruled earlier this month that the practice known as “psychiatric boarding” was unlawful.
The state estimates that 200 people are being cared for in this way.
Gov. Jay Inslee’s policy adviser, Andi Smith, said Thursday that it will cost the state “tens of millions of dollars in the short term” to comply with the court decision.
She says the state plans to add 50 beds by Aug. 27, leaving the potential for some people to be released without care.
The justices ruled that mentally ill patients cannot be warehoused in emergency rooms as a way to avoid overcrowding certified mental health facilities.