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Licensing and Certification for Behavioral Health Agencies

DBHR licenses and certifies treatment programs, and regulates treatment agencies providing services for chemical dependency, community mental health (voluntary and involuntary commitment services), and problem and pathological gambling.   Our Certification, Licensing, and Customer Service Section supports our state's goals to improve services to vulnerable adults.  When people have access to the behavioral health care they need, it benefits everyone in the community. 

There are approximately 580 certified chemical dependency treatment agencies, 225 community mental health agencies offering treatment services at 450 sites, and 21 problem and pathological gambling treatment agencies.

Certification and licensing activities reduce health risks for patients and family members by ensuring that treatment agencies are:
- Surveyed within 12 months of initial approval and every 3 years.
- In compliance with regulations.
- Evaluated rapidly when complaints are received.

In 2013 DBHR conducted on-site surveys of 210 chemical dependency agencies, 150 community mental health centers, and 17 problem and pathological gambling agencies. These surveys help to protect patient health and safety, support providers, and increase the quality of patient care.


Beginning July 1, 2013 new administrative rules for behavioral health services were in effect for agencies providing treatment services for chemical dependency, mental health and problem and pathological gambling.  The new rules are intended to streamline administrative requirements and improve client care. All behavioral health agencies were required to comply with the new rules by September 1, 2013.

Current OTP application forms are available by contacting the Certification Policy Manager, Mary Testa-Smith at 360-725-3716, by email at mary.testa-smith@dshs.wa.gov, or by submitting a request in writing to: Certification Policy Manager, DSHS/DBHR, Post Office Box 45330, Olympia, WA 98504-5330.