BHA General FAQ

  • Call the Behavioral Health Organization that serves your area.
  • They will schedule an intake appointment.
  • Outpatient mental health services are provided by community mental health agencies. Services could be provided at the mental health agency, in your home, or elsewhere in the community.

Psychiatric hospital services are available to Medicaid enrollees. These services may be at no cost, but must be approved in advance. If you think you need to be hospitalized, contact your mental health care provider. Your provider will help you with hospital services if they are necessary.

Visit https://www.wahealthplanfinder.org/_content/Homepage.html to apply for low cost health insurance, or insurance through Medicaid.  

Visit our substance use treatment services page for information about accessing services:  

You can also get free referrals to treatment and recovery resources, and 24-hour emotional support, contact the Washington Recovery Help Line at 1-866-789-1511 or www.warecoveryhelpline.org.  Teen Link help line for teens:  866-833-6546 or https://866teenlink.org/.

In an Emergency:

  • Call 911 for police assistance if the emergency is life threatening, or may result in immediate physical harm to a person or substantial destruction to property.
  • For 24-hour help for crisis counseling and referrals:
    Call the Recovery Help Line or the 24-hour Crisis Line  in your area.
  • Suicide Prevention - 1-800-273-8255
    TTY Users 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) 
  • When the situation is NOT life threatening:
    Contact your local Behavioral Health Organization

For a life-threatening emergency, call 911.

Suicide Prevention 1-800-273-8255 TTY Users 1-800-799-4TTY (4889)

For 24-hour help for crisis counseling and referrals:
Call the Recovery Help Line OR the Crisis Line in your area:

If this is not a crisis:
Please contact your local Behavioral Health Organization.

The application process is a two-tiered process that begins with contacting your local BHO/MCO representative, which is determined on which county you reside in. If a local decision is made to proceed with a referral to CLIP, the BHO/MCO gathers all the application materials and contacts the CLIP Administration.

The CLIP Administration is the final authority for determining a child's eligibility for admission.

  • Youth between the ages of 5-18
  • Legal residents of Washington State
  • Youth diagnosed with a severe psychiatric disorder
  • Youth  possessing a risk to themselves, others or is gravely disabled which warrants care under the supervision of a psychiatrist
  • Community based mental health resources available in the community did not meet the treatment needs of the youth

Medicaid eligibility is determined based on income under the child’s name and the need for longer-term treatment.

CLIP treatment is very costly. The average monthly charge ranges from $14,000 to $25,000. Most youth stay in treatment for at least six months. Very few families can afford this level of treatment so the National Medicaid rule allows children to be eligible for Medicaid due to their need for longer-term inpatient psychiatric treatment. Together federal and state governments share the total cost of the child’s treatment based on his or her eligibility for Medicaid. The federal government decided that any income of the child (not the family) must help to pay towards this total cost.

  • Treatment for substance use disorders is covered in all private and employer-sponsored health plans under the Affordable Care Act.
  • If you are enrolled in a state-funded health insurance plan through Apple Health/Medicaid, you will contact a treatment agency directly for setting up your care.  You do not need a referral from your managed care plan, because this type of health care is funded directly by Medicaid.
  • If you are low-income and need help paying for treatment, you can apply for Apple Health/Medicaid at https://www.wahealthplanfinder.org/_content/Homepage.html

The treatment provider must complete and fax an Interpreter Services Request/Approval form to the DBHR Interpreter Services Coordinator and receive approval before services take place.

Instructions for completing and submitting the request form.


The Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR) pays for interpreter services for patients participating in DBHR-funded treatment services provided on-site at a certified treatment facility.  DBHR also pays for interpreter services for people who attend DBHR-funded or sponsored events, such as major statewide conferences and public meetings.

For questions about interpreter services, email Ronnie San Nicolas or call (360) 725-1280.

The CLIP Administration manages the referral list as well as assigns children to one of the three cottage programs based on what is age appropriate and best suits the needs of the patient.

Response times can vary due to workloads. We are committed to responding to each request within 30 days of receipt. We will do our best to keep you advised of delays, if any. There are occasions that the request is unique and requires special consideration, or required information was not provided with the request, or the information provided did not meet the requirements. Incomplete applications or requests can result in a delay or, in some instances, even a denial of the request.

We try to provide forms that explain what information and materials are necessary to complete your request. We encourage you to contact us if you have any questions or concerns prior to submitting your request.

The hospital capacity is 287 beds; 91 on the Adult Psychiatric Unit; 101 on the Geropsychiatric Unit and 95 on the Forensic Services Unit.

  • Medicaid recipients are automatically enrolled in a local mental health managed care plan through Behavioral Health Organizations.  BHOs coordinate mental health services offered within their service area through contracts with community mental health agencies.
  • People who receive Medicaid are eligible for medically necessary mental health services at no cost, including crisis services. If you think that you may need mental health services, you can call your BHO to schedule an appointment.  All services must be authorized by the BHO in your area. 

Certified providers are required to give the department a minimum of 60 days written notice of intent to relocate certified services. Certification is not transferable from a certified location to another site without departmental approval. (See WAC 388-805-110(2) for information on Relocations.)

Your adolescent can:

  • File a grievance with the inpatient provider.
  • File a grievance with the Mental Health Ombuds  service from his/her home region.
  • Apply for a fair hearing.
  • The adolescent may seek the assistance of his or her attorney.

Parents have the right to participate in hearings and be represented by counsel when decisions are made to involuntarily commit their minor. After the hearing, the final decision of the court is binding.

No, you are not financially liable if you have not given consent. Once you give consent, you may be financially liable unless your child or adolescent is eligible for Medicaid.

There are mental health and substance use disorder professionals who can assess and treat a range of conditions.  It is possible to get all the care you need from one agency.