Governor joins DSHS to celebrate opening of new civil residential treatment facility

DSHS Cuts ribbon on civil treatment center — YouTube

The Department of Health and Social Services had help from Gov. Jay Inslee, community members, as well as honored guests and members of the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation in dedicating its first-ever civil residential treatment facility during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 27 at the Civil Center for Behavioral Health at Maple Lane, in Thurston County.

Gov. Inslee opened the event by noting the significance of the momentous day and its alignment with the state’s mission of transforming behavioral health and how patients are treated.

“This is a really exciting day here at Maple Lane because it is realizing a vision and we are cutting a ribbon of a cutting-edge facility,” Inslee said. “It is a cutting-edge facility because it has been designed with compassion, it was built with efficiency, and it is going to be operated with the new ways that we want to treat our neighbors and family members with the best mental health available to them. And I believe this facility is going to deliver this.”

Gov. Jay Inslee, right, cuts the ribbon at the new civil residential treatment facility while DSHS Secretary Jilma Meneses and Kevin Bovenkamp, assistant secretary of the Behavioral Health Administration, look on.

The newly completed 16,000-square-foot facility will securely and therapeutically house 16 residents at a time who will receive 24-hour care.

“I cannot be more excited in what this represents, which is one of our first steps in the transformation in how we provide mental health to our families and the communities,” Inslee said. “Every family in Washington state to some degree is touched by mental illness, and not only are we all touched by it, we have to realize that the work that’s done here actually works.”

The CCBH will start receiving new patients from Western State Hospital in February, which will free up bed space at the hospital for forensic patients, those who come in through the criminal court system.

“This facility, which is going to have people who are on the civil side of our mental health system, is also going to help the problem that we have in the criminal side,” Inslee said. “Because as you know that we have people waiting too long in our jails while they are waiting for their competency to be restored… But this will help that problem because it will allow more beds to be available for those who need competency to be restored.”

The opening of the RTF is historic for the state because it is DSHS’ first facility created to treat patients in the community and in smaller facilities that better meet their needs.

“This is a perfect example of what we want to see in the development of the additional treatment available to people,” Inslee said.

Following Inslee’s comments, DSHS Secretary Jilma Meneses spoke about how this facility reinforces DSHS’ commitment to preserving the dignity and respect of patients.

“Our deeply held value is to provide person-centered care, recognizing the humanity in all of our patients, and we will use this approach in all aspects of patient care,” Meneses said.

The CCBH will treat adults who are involuntarily committed by a civil action for 90 to 180 days under the state’s Involuntary Treatment Act. The facility will provide in-patient mental health treatment in a secure environment to assist people in stabilizing their acute psychiatric symptoms and support the development and implementation of individual recovery plans. Following treatment, it is the intention of the program to transition residents back to the community or a less-restrictive setting.

“So often society forgets about the clients who are suffering from mental and behavioral health,” Meneses said. “So often does society reject those folks, and again we cannot do that. We will not do that. We will be right at your side to serve, have empathy, and care because that is what we are about in the state of Washington and certainly at DSHS and our sister agencies.”

In line with DSHS’ goal for building sustainable and environmentally friendly infrastructure, the CCBH is part of a zero-waste initiative and is expected to receive a gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating, Tim Byrne, Capital Programs construction project coordinator, said. It is optimized to be completely self-dependent, adding no additional energy use to Washington’s power grid and reducing its carbon impact.

The facility will achieve this high-level LEED rating through its natural native landscaping, more than 200 solar panels installed on the roof and in the form of covered parking, and on-site retention and treatment ponds to manage stormwater.

Jeneva Cotton, Civil Residential Treatment Facilitates director, spoke about how the CCBH is designed to be a safe and therapeutic facility for residents.

“As you can see by looking around you, we really focused on creating a secure space that is environmentally responsible and safe, yet also therapeutic and person-centered,” Cotton said.

The new facility is created to provide a safe and therapeutic environment that will alleviate patient aggression and stress due to seclusion or isolation. It has numerous community spaces for patients, two outdoor areas, a sensory room, group workshop rooms, and views of nature and access to natural light throughout. The floor plan was created to limit environmental stressors through noise reduction and managing patient density.

This historic new facility will transform how DSHS treats civil patients for the better, Cotton said.

“Oak Cottage is only the first step in this journey — starting the process of moving individuals from within the walls of our state hospitals into their own communities,” Cotton said. “Receiving treatment closer to their support systems and their families will allow them to expand their skills and gain new tools to help them to be successful and to lead productive lives.”

DSHS is also making plans to celebrate the completion of other projects on the Maple Lane campus, such as a newly renovated Treatment Mall and Columbia Cottage this fall, which will provide treatment for 30 Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity patients.

DSHS is also in the development phase of construction on other multiple community-based treatment centers in Clark County.

(By Jacob Jimenez)