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Inslee clarifies psychiatric patient ‘warehousing’ deadline

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee’s office has told health officials they have until Aug. 27 to comply with a state Supreme Court’s decision to ban the warehousing of psychiatric patients in emergency rooms.

The high court unanimously ruled Thursday that people with suspected mental health problems cannot be “warehoused” in emergency rooms and hospitals when certified mental health facilities already are full.

The Seattle Times reported that officials believed they had to act immediately following that ruling. According to the governor’s office, the ruling does not take effect for 20 days.

That still leaves little time for health officials to find treatment alternatives for patients who otherwise might have been held in an emergency room or hospital when a psychiatric bed is not available.