“Stuck in the emergency room because there’s nowhere else to go” – KUOW Public Radio

As the demand for inpatient beds continues to outstrip supply, legislators are working to increase funding for community-based behavioral healthcare services.

Our CEO, Tom Sebastian, recently sat down with Tom Banse from KUOW Public Radio to discuss how increased funding would help us build more treatment and affordable housing capacity to support people within their communities, where they typically receive the best outcomes.

One of the proposed recipients of increased funding is Everett, Washington-based behavioral health care provider Compass Health. CEO Tom Sebastian said his organization wants to take patients off the hands of emergency rooms and the state hospital.

“We can do it less expensively than a state institution and we can do it closer to home and we can do it in an environment in which the care that we’re able to provide will really meet their needs better than an institutional setting,” Sebastian said in an interview.

Sebastian said Compass Health plans to break ground late this year on a redevelopment of its campus in Everett to double its capacity for inpatient mental health treatment, plus build new supportive, affordable housing next door for people with chronic mental and behavioral health issues. Other places in line for new psychiatric beds via other health care companies include Bremerton, Auburn, Spokane and Yakima.

Read the full story and listen to the radio interview on KUOW’s website here.


People in mental health crisis can be lodged for days on a gurney in a hallway, like these at Olympia’s St. Peter Hospital emergency room, because there’s nowhere else to go. Credit: NW News Network.

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