Washington State Laws and Regulations - Summary
Frequently Asked Questions
- What types of chemical dependency services are offered in Washington?
- What does it mean to be "licensed," "certified," or "accredited" in this industry?
- What kind of licensure and certifications are required to operate a chemical dependency treatment program in Washington?
- How can the licensing and credentialing agencies in Washington be reached?
- How does a residential treatment facility obtain a license?
- How does a residential treatment facility renew or amend its license?
- What responsibilities does a residential treatment facility have to maintain its license?
- Under what circumstances will the Department of Health deny, suspend, modify, or revoke licensure for a residential treatment facility?
- What is the process for obtaining certification for a chemical dependency facility?
- What might cause the Department to deny, suspend, or revoke a certification for a program offered by a chemical dependency facility?
- What kinds of inspections might there be for licensure and certification determination?
- How can a facility prepare for inspections, on-site reviews, and audits?
- What are the requirements of an emergency plan for a residential treatment facility?
- What kind of governing body is required for residential treatment facilities?
- What kinds of policies and procedures must a chemical dependency program have?
- What are the protections afforded to small group homes used for the purpose of residential substance abuse treatment?
- Are there any proximity restrictions regulating how close treatment centers may be to each other? Can I open a residential treatment center right next to one that is already there?
- What are the basic physical plant requirements for treatment facilities?
- What information must be disclosed to the client during intake and what must we put in our admissions agreement?
- What are the clinical record keeping requirements for licensed facilities?
- How does a facility decide whether a client meets criteria for placement in a particular level of care?
- What services and staffing must be offered at each level of care?
- What are the requirements for a clinical assessment and individual service plan?
- What rules govern administration of client medications in a residential setting?
- What rights are guaranteed to clients?
- When can a facility use restraint or seclusion techniques for behavior management?
- What grounds are needed in order to dismiss a client from a program?
- I need to discharge a client that relapsed, but am I at risk if he or she overdoses tonight and how can I protect myself?
- How must clients' privacy be protected?
- How must I respond to clients who are unable to pay the required deductibles? Can I waive a program participant's financial responsibility?
- What are the key issues insurers raise to demand recoupment of fees from chemical dependency treatment programs?
- What marketing practices are prohibited?
- What are the limits of gift giving to potential referral sources?
- What kind of benefits can I offer existing or new clients?
- What is a recovery house and what is drug and alcohol free housing?
- Do we need a license or certification to open a recovery house or drug and alcohol free housing?
- How can drug and alcohol free housing demonstrate their commitment to meeting minimum quality standards?
- What kinds of services can a drug and alcohol free housing offer?
- What are the protections afforded by federal law to small group homes used for the purpose of sustained recovery?
- Can local governments put special restrictions on drug and alcohol free housing?
- What other aspects should an operator consider before choosing a location for a drug and alcohol free house?
- What would our obligations to residents be?
- What kind of agreement must we ask our residents to sign?
- Can we insist on drug tests and searches?
- Can recovery houses or drug and alcohol free housing bill insurance for required and/or random drug testing?
- Can we make clients' obligations contractually enforceable?
- What kind of ownership and staffing structures are common with these types of residential arrangements?
- Are there any other organizations from which we could find more information?
Treatment services can be offered through residential and outpatient treatment facilities, which provide evaluation and either treatment or referrals for individuals with chemical dependency disorders.
Licensing means that a particular type of facility or professional may only operate with the advance and continuous authorization ("license") of a designated government agency ...
Licensing & Certification
Facilities must be licensed to operate. Facilities must be licensed to operate. Programs must also be certified to provide specific treatment services. As of July 1, 2018, ...
As of July 1, 2018, oversight will be handled by the Department....
A completed application for RTF licensure must be submitted to the Department 60 days or more before ...
The Department mails the "Notice to Renew" about 45 days before the due date, which is 30 days before license expiration. At least 30 days before the expiration date ...
The RTF must ensure it is in compliance with all relevant state and federal rules and regulations.
The Department may deny, suspend, modify, or revoke an RTF license if the applicant or licensee has:
Chemical dependency facilities must apply for an initial license to operate as ...
The Department may deny a program’s certification if any of the following occurs:
For residential treatment facility licensing, the Department may send an authorized representative to ...
Facilities must ensure that staff are well-trained and ready to answer questions which may be asked of them by the Department, reflecting knowledge of compliance and operational requirements.
An RTF must ensure client health and safety by establishing ...
Under Washington state regulations, RTFs must ...
Certified chemical dependency programs are required to have certain administrative, personnel and clinical policies in place.
Zoning and Land Use
The regulation of land use and zoning is traditionally reserved to state and local governments, except to the extent that it conflicts with ...
There is no statewide rule or regulation preventing multiple facilities from operating in close proximity, although ...
Please note, these regulations concern the physical requirements for licensure and certification, and do not constitute all environmental requirements.
Prior to admission, or in the case of an intoxicated client, as soon as stabilization occurs, basic information about treatment services must be provided ...
Licensed facilities must keep clinical records that include the following:
In order to make a determination on whether the services offered by the facility are an appropriate fit to meet the treatment needs of the client, the facility ...
Substance abuse treatment facilities must meet the needs of admitted clients, as identified during the admission assessment process ...
Licensed behavioral health facilities, including substance use disorder treatment programs, are generally required to ...
The residential treatment facility is responsible for the control and use of all medications, including ensuring ...
Clients' rights must be respected and protected. Each facility has a responsibility to ...
Any RTF that utilizes restraint or seclusion must ensure that restraint or seclusion is performed in accordance with all applicable federal and state laws, regulations, and rules.
Generally, there are four types of discharge.
The discharge of a client must be handled carefully given the risks if a client suffers negative health consequences in the aftermath of discharge.
Client confidentiality is an important issue covered by both federal and state laws.
Clients seeking drug and alcohol rehabilitative services often face financial difficulties ...
Insurers may demand recoupment of fees based on ...
The most widespread prohibited marketing practices in addiction treatment appear to revolve around ...
Federal and state laws prohibit the exchange of items of value to induce referrals for health-related services.
Providers must avoid giving a patient or prospective patient anything of value or benefit.
Recovery Houses & Drug and Alcohol Free Housing
Recovery houses and other sober living facilities (including drug and alcohol free housing) are ...
Recovery houses are currently not licensed by the Department as residential treatment facilities, but ...
Sober homes may devise their own quality standards.
Drug and alcohol free housing provide a structured alcohol and drug free environment for congregate living that offers regularly scheduled peer-led or community gatherings (self-help groups, etc.).
Zoning and Land Use
A drug and alcohol free house or sober living with six or fewer people is generally ...
This area of law is complex and evolving.
In siting a drug and alcohol free house or sober living, attention should be paid to ...
Residents' Rights and Responsibilities
In general, recovery and sober living houses should agree to the following:
Any agreement residents sign must comply with landlord and tenant laws of Washington.
As a general matter, sober living facilities do not have the right to ...
Recovery houses or drug and alcohol free housing sometimes rely on the drug screening ...
Yes, as long as the obligations are enforceable under Washington law in general and the laws relating to landlord and tenants.
Governance and Staffing
A recovery house or drug and alcohol free house may be structured as ...
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration