From “State Lawmakers Pass Seattle Children’s Top Priority Bill to Change How WA Cares for Youth Stuck in Hospitals,” On the Pulse, May 25, 2023.


Most people hope any trip to the emergency room will be a short stay, but many emergency rooms and hospitals in Washington, including Seattle Children’s, are where young people in crisis become stuck when they are unable to get connected to the kind of support they need.

Last summer and fall, Seattle Children’s convened with other hospital leaders and government agency officials to devise a legislative fix.

The group included representatives from the agencies that oversee health, social services, child welfare and education as well as the mental health policy lead in the governor’s office. They met for over six months before settling on many of the provisions outlined in what is now called House Bill (HB) 1580.

The 2023 Washington state legislative dession adjourned in late April, after both the House and Senate unanimously passed HB 1580, and on May 11, Governor Jay Inslee signed the bill into law, putting hope on the horizon for some of the highest-risk children and families we serve.

Hugh Ewart, senior director, state and federal government affairs, and Kashi Arora, program manager, mental and behavioral health at Seattle Children’s, sat down with On the Pulse to discuss the behind-the-scenes of how HB 1580 came together and how it will help youth in crisis.


When did you begin to see the need for change in the way youth in crisis get connected with care?

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