Gov. OKs $30M to ease mental health bed shortage

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has approved spending as much as $30 million to start meeting a state Supreme Court order to add more psychiatric evaluation and treatment beds to hospitals around the state.

State officials are also seeking a 120-day stay of the order to comply with the high court's directive.

On Aug. 7, the Supreme Court ruled that the practice known as "psychiatric boarding," or holding mentally ill patients in emergency rooms, was unlawful. The state estimates the ruling applies to about 200 people.

Jane Beyer with the state Department of Social and Health Services said Friday that 10 beds have already been secured at Eastern State Hospital. She says that with Inslee's help, the agency has identified and secured funding for as many as 145 more beds.

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