BHA Safe Start FAQs

Introduction

On March 10, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee issued Proclamation 20-16 prohibiting visitors access to our 24/7 facilities.

On September 1, 2020, the Department of Social and Health Services published its revised Safe Start plan for the Behavioral Health Administration to better align with the Safe Start plan for Long-Term Care in Washington state. This plan updates criteria to safely conduct visitation at BHA’s 24/7 facilities, which include Eastern State Hospital, Western State Hospital, Child Study and Treatment Center, Fort Steilacoom Competency Restoration Program, Maple Lane Competency Restoration Program, Yakima Competency Restoration Program, and Special Commitment Center.

It also prescribes policy related to trips outside the facility, communal dining and group activities, testing and screening, source control and PPE, and staffing. View the full plan here.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

When and how may I visit my loved one in a DSHS BHA facility?

BHA phases
 
  • Facilities in DSHS’ BHA Phase 1:
    • Indoor visits are limited to compassionate care situations and to professional visitors. Compassionate care situations include end-of-life circumstances. Any such visit must follow strict safety protocol.
    • Outdoor visits are allowed and limited to two visitors per patient per visit. These visits must include masking, social distancing, and appropriate hygiene.
    • Remote visitation must be facilitated in all phases.
  • Facilities in DSHS’ BHA Phase 2:
    • Indoor visits are limited to compassionate care situations and to professional visitors. Compassionate care situations include end-of-life circumstances. Any such visit must follow strict safety protocol.
    • Outdoor visits are allowed. These visits must include masking, social distancing, and appropriate hygiene.
    • Remote visitation must be facilitated in all phases.
  • Facilities in DSHS’ BHA Phase 3:
    • Indoor visits are generally permitted, with limitations. Facilities will establish protocol for visitor hours, visitor limits, and safety precautions. Preference should be given to outdoor visits.
    • Outdoor visits are allowed and are subject to facility safety protocol.
    • Remote visitation must be facilitated in all phases.
  • Facilities in DSHS’ BHA Phase 4:
    • Regular visitation resumes.

 

How do I find out what DSHS’ BHA phase applies to a particular facility?

This chart lists the current phase for each BHA facility. Please note that individual facilities may often be subject to a different phase than the county has reached under the general Safe Start plan.

 

Child Study & Treatment Center

Eastern State Hospital

Fort Steilacoom CRP

Maple Lane CRP

Special Commitment Center

Western State Hospital

Yakima CRP

Phase 1

Phase 1

Phase 1

Phase 1

Phase 1

Phase 1

Phase 1

 

 

How do DSHS’ BHA phases work?

The DSHS BHA phase status is based upon the general Safe Start plan, but takes additional factors into account.

Those additional factors include local virus activity, facility access to testing and personal protective equipment, and virus activity within the facility.

 

Facilities will be held to Phase 1 if the local COVID case rate per 100,000 patients exceeds 75.

 

To reach Phase 2, the local COVID case rate threshold is 25-75 per 100,000 patients. 28 days must have passed since the last positive or suspected positive patient was identified within the facility. Adequate staffing, PPE, cleaning supplies, and local hospital capacity are also required.

 

To reach Phase 3, the local COVID case rate threshold is 10-25 per 100,000 patients. 28 days must have passed since the last positive or suspected positive patient was identified within the facility. Adequate staffing, PPE, cleaning supplies, and local hospital capacity are also required.

 

To reach Phase 4, the local COVID case rate must not exceed 10 per 100,000 patients. 28 days must have passed since the last positive or suspected positive patient was identified within the facility. Adequate staffing, PPE, cleaning supplies, and local hospital capacity are also required.

 

Facilities may not move beyond their county's Safe Start Phase.

 

If I am concerned that a facility or agency visitor policy is improper, what can I do?

Please contact the facility directly with any concerns about proper adherence to the Safe Start plan. 

For concerns about potential abuse or neglect of patients, please contact Adult Protective Services at 877-734-6277 or Children Protective Services at 866-363-4276.

 

What precautions are in place to prevent staff and visitors from introducing infection?

All facility staff and visitors are screened upon entering or re-entering the facility. Screening may include temperature checks and questionnaires regarding exposure and symptoms. Everyone is required to follow facility safety policies to encompass social distancing, face covering, and additional protective equipment or measures as required.

 

How are "end-of-life" circumstances defined for early phase visits?

"End-of-life" circumstances are generally considered to be defined by a sharp decline in health status.

All compassionate care circumstances are considered by facilities on a case-by-cases basis. In Phases 1 and 2, these visits are to be conducted sparingly.

 

Are patients required to wear masks all day?

For a variety of reasons, to include safety and compliance, DSHS’ BHA patients are not required to wear masks.  However, the administration engages in numerous other infection control measures to protect the health of our patients, to include universal masking of all staff and social distancing of our patients. 


 

Facilities with Confirmed Cases of COVID-19

Information on DSHS BHA facilities with confirmed cases of COVID-19 among patients and/or staff can be found on the DSHS webpage. These charts include rates of confirmed cases per 1000 patients and 1000 staff members, and lists BHA case numbers per county.

 

Information about COVID-19: