Research and Data Analysis

Latest News

Image of report cover 11.259Our Clients Speak: Results from the 2021 Social and Health Services Client Survey

Between October 2020 and March 2021, the Research and Data Analysis Division of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) conducted 1,251 telephone interviews with randomly selected clients who received services between May 2019 and April 2020. Most services covered in the survey were provided by DSHS; medical assistance, community-based mental health services, and substance use disorder services were provided by the Washington State Health Care Authority; and children and family services were provided by the Department of Children, Youth, and Families. Clients were asked about their satisfaction with social and health services and for recommendations for change. The 2021 Client Survey started seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic, giving us a window into the client experience during a momentous shift in service provision. Overall, satisfaction with social and health services remained high. As in previous years, the great majority of clients expressed satisfaction with services and their interactions with staff. Compared to 2019, responses to three questions increased in positivity, 10 decreased, and two stayed the same. None of the changes were statistically significant. Access to a live person continues to be a challenge for many clients – an existing issue that worsened during the pandemic. Comments show that clients appreciate remote options for service delivery, but would like more user-friendly online services and easier ways to connect with staff.

Image of report cover 9.118Prior Gestational Age and Subsequent Risk for Preterm Birth among Washington State Women

Preterm birth (before 37 completed weeks of gestation) is a leading cause of infant mortality and morbidity. In this report, we explored rates of preterm birth as they relate to gestational age of prior deliveries and interpregnancy intervals (IPI) among Washington State women. We found that both prior preterm birth and early term birth were associated with subsequent preterm birth. The association between a short IPI (less than six months) and very preterm birth varied by gestational age of prior delivery. Specifically, women with a prior preterm or early term birth and a short IPI had the highest risk of subsequent very preterm birth.

Image of report cover 11.258Assessment of Phase 1 Co-responder Program Staffing Needs

Following the Trueblood et al. v. Washington State DSHS et al. lawsuit, the Trueblood Contempt Settlement Agreement established a multi-phase plan for providing services and treatment to persons in the criminal court system aiming to reduce their likelihood of recidivism. This report fulfills the Settlement Agreement’s requirement for Washington state to “perform an assessment of law enforcement agency co-responder mental health staffing needs to guide future funding requests” in the Phase 1 regions, which include 10 Washington counties. RDA conducted and analyzed data collected from two surveys to assess mental health field response and co-responder program staffing needs in Phase 1 regions. The primary survey represented law enforcement agencies (LEAs) identified by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) within these regions. A secondary survey represented Behavioral Health Agencies (BHAs) participating in existing co-responder programs that were identified by referral from LEAs. This report presents a detailed analysis of co-responder program staffing and needs, a general description of other issues addressed in the survey, and interpretation of results.

Image of report cover 11.257Spokane Better Health through Housing: A Pilot Program Connecting Homeless High Emergency Department Utilizers to Housing

Funded by the 2019 Legislature (ESHB 1109), the Better Health Through Housing pilot program sought to reduce health care costs by providing housing and other services to homeless, frequent emergency department visitors with complex healthcare needs. The program was administered by the Department of Commerce and implemented by Better Health Together, an Accountable Community of Health located in northeastern Washington. This report describes program implementation and the experiences and characteristics of individuals referred to the pilot, including their: 1) progression through key program milestones; 2) health histories; and 3) medical utilization patterns before and after referral to the program.

Image of report cover 7.1232020 Caregiver Survey Report

Between November 2019 and September 2020, DSHS surveyed 1,346 caregivers (591 foster and 755 kinship) who had a child in care within six months of the sampling date (August and November, 2019; February and May, 2020). These caregivers were asked about their satisfaction with support, licensing, training, and information provided by the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) and private agencies contracted by the Department. They were also asked to offer recommendations for change. The COVID-19 pandemic began five months into the 10-month survey fielding period, but overall perceptions of support remained stable compared to the prior survey. Among foster caregivers, there was a statistically significant decrease in positive responses since 2019 for social worker listening. Foster caregivers were more likely than kinship caregivers to say they had adequate support, could get help when they asked for it, and to find Licensing Division staff knowledgeable. Kinship caregivers, who typically know the children before placement, were more likely to say they had adequate information on the needs of the children. Responses to questions about licensing staff show high levels of satisfaction among caregivers who have interacted with the Division of Licensed Resources. Written comments show that there are still some areas where many desire improvement, including information sharing, inclusiveness, reimbursements, and efficient processes. Many caregivers requested the continuation of online training, with updated content and more opportunity for interaction. Caregivers continue to emphasize that participation of experienced caregivers adds value to training.

Image of report cover 11.256Trends in State Health and Social Service Use among United States Veterans in Washington State

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) provides care to an especially vulnerable population of individuals, some of whom are also receiving state-funded health and social services. This report extends prior RDA work examining state social and health service use by Veterans living in Washington State. To better understand if state service utilization by Veterans changes over time, this report examines the use of state-administered social and health care services from 2008 through 2018 by a cohort of Veterans who were enrolled with the VHA in calendar year (CY) 2016. Overall, use of state social and health services by Veterans increased in the years following the 2008 recession, but has decreased in recent years.

Image of report cover 11.255Homelessness and Housing Instability Among Veterans in Washington

This report examines homelessness and housing instability among Washington Veterans in CY 2018. By drawing on data from both state- and Veterans Health Affairs (VHA)-administered programs, this report provides an in-depth picture of housing instability and homelessness among Veterans. Differences in rates of homelessness and housing instability are examined by age, sex, race/ethnicity, geography, and engagement in the VHA Primary Care Management Module (PCMM).

Image of report cover for Children Behavior Health DashboardBehavioral Health Treatment Needs and Outcomes among Medicaid Children in Washington State

This dashboard provides a snapshot of behavioral health needs and outcomes for children and youth under age 21 on Medicaid in Washington State and for the subgroup in foster care in SFY 2014-2018. Rates of behavioral health needs are also compared across demographic categories, region, county, Medicaid coverage type, cross-system involvement, and abuse and neglect history. Outcomes examined include behavioral health treatment penetration and utilization, psychotropic polypharmacy, juvenile justice involvement, emergency department utilization, injury rates and teen pregnancy.

Image of report cover 7.122Evaluation of the Health Care Authority’s First Steps Maternity Support Services Program in Washington State

This report describes Maternity Support Services (MSS) utilization from 2009 to 2018 and assesses the effects of prenatal MSS on health behaviors and birth outcomes. Washington State’s legislatively mandated program change in 2009 resulted in a decrease of overall MSS utilization from 69% in 2009 to 43% in 2018. Clients receiving prenatal MSS had improved health and birth outcomes during 2017-2018. After adjusting for demographics and clients’ risk factors during pregnancy, prenatal MSS was significantly associated with a reduction in smoking during pregnancy, a reduction in preterm birth, and an increase in initiation of breastfeeding. Clients receiving both prenatal MSS and prenatal care during pregnancy had stronger improved health and birth outcomes comparing to those receiving no MSS or prenatal care.

Image of report cover 4.107Becoming Employed Starts Today (BEST)

Becoming Employed Starts Today (BEST) was a federally funded, five-year pilot program that offered evidence-based supported employment services to individuals with severe mental illness and co-occurring substance disorders at four community-based mental health sites. This report summarizes the results of an evaluation of BEST, which compared outcomes for 362 individuals who enrolled in BEST between March 2015 and September 2018 at two program sites—one rural, one urban—to a statistically matched comparison group. BEST participation was associated with significant improvements in employment rates, average hours worked, and average number of quarters employed. BEST also reduced arrest rates and increased participation in Washington State's food assistance program, Medicaid, and mental health services. BEST participants also reported reductions in psychological distress and institutionalizations/homelessness, and improvements in overall functioning in daily life, employment rates, and school attendance compared to baseline.



What We Do

DSHS Research and Data Analysis Division provides data, analytics, and decision support tools to improve the delivery of services that transform lives. For more information.


Contact RDA - Telephone: (360)902-0707

Other ways of contacting RDA.




Sign up today for RDA's Research and Data Newsletter