Ending psychiatric boarding will cost millions

SEATTLE (AP) — State officials complying with a state Supreme Court ban on warehousing mentally ill patients in emergency rooms plan to add about 50 beds to satisfy the court mandate initially — far short of the number needed to fully address the problem.

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."

She says the ruling applies to about 200 people, leaving the potential for some involuntarily committed patients to be released without care.

Mental-health administrators have been trying to respond after the high court ruled earlier this month that the practice known as "psychiatric boarding" was unlawful.

The justices said mentally ill patients cannot be "warehoused" in emergency rooms as a way to avoid overcrowding certified mental health facilities.

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