Bill signed in support of BHSS credential

Department news | May 31, 2023

This month, Governor Inslee signed SSB 5189 into law to establish the role of Behavioral Health Support Specialist (BHSS) in Washington with credentialing starting January 1, 2025. With this fantastic news, the BHSS Clinical Training Program team led by Bill O’Connell, EdDAnna Ratzliff, MD, PhD, and Juliann Salisbury, MSW, will begin collaborating with the Washington Department of Health and consulting organizations to develop rules supporting the BHSS credential. Additionally, they will work with statewide education partners including Centralia College Behavioral Healthcare Program, Eastern Washington University School of Psychology, Lake Washington Institute of Technology Behavioral Health and Social Services, Spokane Falls Community College Integrated Behavioral Health Program and UW Tacoma School of Social Work to implement the BHSS Clinical Training Program. More educational programs will be adopting the BHSS Clinical Training Program in the near future, and faculty from academic programs across the state will be contributing to on-going curriculum development. There will also be an opportunity to create innovative pathways toward credentialing through a registered apprenticeship combined with either a bachelor’s degree or post-baccalaureate certificate program. Learn more.

We are grateful to Senators Trudeau, Wagoner, Conway, Dhingra, and Wilson for sponsoring this bill as well as Rep. Callan and colleagues who supported companion bill 1348 in the House. We also want to acknowledge the generosity of Ballmer Group’s gift to the University of Washington to support development of the curriculum for the BHSS role.