Behavioral Health Tax
In December 2020, the Pierce County Council passed Ordinance No. 2020-138s authorizing the collection of a 1/10th of one percent sales tax to fund behavioral health and therapeutic court programs within Pierce County. This tax, allowed under RCW 82.14.460, will provide funds for mental health and substance use disorder treatment. Treatment dollars will be targeted toward services not covered by Medicaid, private insurance, or other local or federal grants.
The county began collecting the tax on July 1, 2021. Ordinance 2020-138s required Human Services to work with the Pierce County Behavioral Health Advisory Board to develop a Behavioral Health Improvement Plan. This plan will help identify gaps and needs in the community in order to set funding priorities. The Pierce County Council approved funding for some behavioral health programs while the plan was being developed. These programs are outlined in the Current Programs link below.
The Behavioral Health Improvement Plan was approved by the Pierce County Council on December 7th, 2021.
The Behavioral Health Improvement Plan (BHIP) was approved by the Pierce County Council on December 7th, 2021. The plan can be found here.
The BHIP reflects Pierce County’s vision of a community where those with behavioral health needs will have access to a full range of innovative, effective, and culturally competent services, including:
- Community education
- Prevention and early intervention
- Outpatient and community-based services
- Crisis and inpatient services
- Services for justice-involved populations
- Housing supports for those with behavioral health needs
In February 2022, Pierce County Human Services will release an RFP seeking applicants for programs to be funded by the Behavioral Health Tax. Based on the needs identified in the BHIP, priority funding areas will include:
- Innovative approaches to wellness and prevention for all ages.
- Interventions at earlier ages could include support for at-risk parents and those caring for children with complex behavioral and developmental needs.
- Other innovative and effective programs that address unmet behavioral health prevention wellness needs of Pierce County.
Community Education, Early Intervention and Screening:
- Evidence-based programs aimed at educating the community on behavioral health and decreasing stigma, including programs addressing school-age youth.
- Behavioral health screening in primary care and other social service settings.
- Other innovative and effective programs that reduce stigma and educate the community on behavioral health.
Outpatient and Community Based Services
- School-based behavioral health services including mental health and SUD treatment, screening, anti-stigma education, and prevention services.
- Recovery support and peer services.
- Supportive employment services to assist behavioral health clients in obtaining and maintaining employment.
- Programs that expand SUD treatment for the uninsured or services not covered by Medicaid.
- Behavioral health services to veterans.
- Wraparound with Intensive Services (WISe) for the uninsured or underinsured.
- Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT).
- Other innovative and effective programs that address unmet SUD and mental needs within Pierce County.
Crisis and Inpatient Services
- Step-down programs (outpatient or facility-based) for individuals exiting inpatient SUD or mental health treatment.
- A sobering center or SUD diversion center.
- Other innovative and effective programs that will reduce recidivism and help individuals access treatment at the most appropriate level of care.
Services for the Justice Involved
- Crisis co-responder programs.
- Programs formerly funded under Trueblood. Pierce County intends to continue to support behavioral health programs similar to those formerly funded through the Trueblood settlement. Bidders are encouraged to propose innovative and effective approaches that provide treatment for this population. Programs could include:
- Housing navigators
- Case management
- Peer services
- Wraparound services
- Pre-release assessments.
- Other innovative and effective programs that address unmet behavioral health needs of justice involved individuals within Pierce County.
- On-site behavioral health services at homeless shelters using a model that integrates the expertise of mental health, substance use, and primary care.
- Outreach and behavioral health support for those at risk for homelessness.
- Supportive employment services to assist in obtaining and maintaining employment.
- Other innovative and effective programs that address unmet behavioral health needs of those experiencing or at risk of homelessness within Pierce County.
Note on programs already funded by the BH Tax:
The following programs have already received ongoing funding from the BH Tax through Pierce County Council ordinance and therefore will not be included in this RFP:
- A new District Court therapeutic court.
- An Alternative Response Team: This team will partner with the Pierce County Sheriff and provide outreach and follow-up for individuals involved with law enforcement whose primary needs can be addressed by behavioral health/social services staff.
The Pierce County Council authorized funding during the start-up phase of the Behavioral Health Tax program. These programs are funded from July 2021 through June 2022. Continued funded will be contingent upon the programs reapplying for funding through the February 2022 RFP.
Programs currently funded under the BH Tax include:
• *Alternative Response Team embedded with the Pierce County Sheriff.
• Crisis Co-Responder/Pierce County Sheriff
• Wraparound with Intensive Services (WISe) program for youth
• School-based behavioral health navigator and treatment
• Cohen Veterans Clinic
• Assisted Outpatient Treatment
*The Alternative Response Team will not need to seek funding through the RFP. This program was specifically funded by the Executive and Council through the 2022-23 budget process. The Council and Executive also provided specific funding for a new therapeutic court through the Pierce County District Court.
Formation of the Pierce County Behavioral Health Advisory Board.
- Request for qualifications/competitive bidding for council-approved programs
- Hired program staff.
- Finalized awards for initial funding authorized by the Pierce County Council.
- Negotiated contracts for approved programs.
- Completed gaps assessment, develop program metrics, oversight/monitoring process, reporting requirements, and other program elements. Integrated into draft Behavioral Health Improvement Plan.
- Draft Behavioral Health Improvement Plan (BHIP) with input from advisory board, community members, providers, and other stakeholders.
- Behavioral Health Advisory Board approved the BHIP)
- BHIP presented to the Pierce County Council.
- Develop new RFP and contracting requirements for all BH contracts.
- Renegotiated contracts with existing BH providers to include new metrics and value-based purchasing requirements.
- Pierce County Council approved the BHIP.
December 2021/January 2022
- With BHAB input, finalize RFP and contracting requirements for new grants.
- Release BH Tax RFP based on BHIP recommendations.
Services begin under newly-funded BH Tax programs