Washington State ranks 45th in the US in terms of access to behavioral care. In 2016, there were 17 counties without a single practicing psychiatrist. As a result, many healthcare providers are treating patients experiencing behavioral health conditions, including substance use disorders, with limited to no support from a trained mental health specialist.
The PCL was established to support providers throughout Washington State by providing convenient access to psychiatric consultation. Research indicates that increased access to mental health care can lead to earlier diagnosis, improved adherence to evidence-based treatment, and better patient outcomes.
We hope to achieve three primary goals with the implementation of PCL: to function as a consultation safety net for healthcare providers across the state who are challenged with treating an increasing number of complex patients with mental health and/or substance use disorders; to build capacity of our state’s health care workforce by using every psychiatric consultation as an opportunity for education that can be applied to and benefit future patients; and to support the mental health care needs of patients across Washington State.