Action Center

DOH Listening Sessions: Behavioral Health Profession Licensure Requirements
April 2, 2024 by Jeremy Arp

NASW-WA would like to share an announcement from the Washington Department of Health. See the full announcement below, or follow this link


Behavioral Health Profession Licensure Requirements

The Department of Health (DOH) is hosting four virtual Listening Sessions in late April and early May. This is a continuation of the work we began with listening sessions in June 2023. We want to learn more about barriers to getting credentialed as a behavioral health professional in Washington State. All sessions will have the same content. Pick the session that works best for you or attend all sessions. You can register for the webinars at the links below: 

If you cannot make it to the virtual listening sessions, we would still like to hear from you.  You can send comments to Cori Tarzwell, Strategic Policy Manager, at 1724publiccomment@doh.wa.gov. Please submit your comments by Sunday, May 19th, 2024. 

Why is DOH doing listening sessions? 

2SHB 1724 passed the Washington State Legislature in 2023.  Section 5 of the bill requires DOH to identify changes to statutes and rules that would remove barriers to entering or remaining in the behavioral health workforce.  The workforce is defined in the bill as advanced social workers, independent clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, substance use disorder professionals, and psychologists. 2SHB 1724 requires DOH to make two rounds of recommendations. DOH presented the first round of recommendations on December 6, 2023 and you can view the recording and supporting materials, linked here. The April/May 2024 listening sessions will inform DOH’s second round of recommendations, due November 2024. 

What are the listening sessions for? 

These listening sessions will help DOH learn from providers, employers, and communities about barriers to entering and remaining in the behavioral health workforce.  They will help shape future rulemaking on licensing requirements and inform our second round of recommendations to the legislature this November. Our goal is to have licensure requirements for the behavioral health workforce that are equitable, allow for timely credentialing, protect the safety of patients, and promote access to care. 

What questions will DOH ask at the listening sessions? 

We will begin each listening session with a short presentation on the recommendations we made in December 2023 and progress toward implementing them. We will also present changes we are making to the credentialing process intended to shorten the timeframe and improve efficiency. Then we will move into an open comment period to hear from you, focusing on barriers that were not addressed in our 2023 recommendations. While you are not required to respond to these directly, these are some guiding questions about what we hope to learn. 

What licensing or credentialing barriers: 

  • prevent providers from entering or staying in the behavioral health workforce? 
  • place an unfair burden on applicants from disadvantaged communities? 
  • cause delays in applying for and receiving a credential from the department? 
  • does the department need to be aware of and consider?   


Virtual listening sessions will have American Sign Language and Spanish interpreters, CART, and auto-generated Closed Captioning. If you would like to request accommodations, contact Cori Tarzwell, Strategic Policy Manager, at cori.tarzwell@doh.wa.gov

We ask that any requests for additional interpreters be made at least two weeks in advance.  This is to give us the time needed to secure the requested service. We will make every effort to secure services but may not be able to because of availability. 

Help us get the word out 

Help us get the word out about the listening sessions.  Please share this event with your community.  

For questions or comments, email Cori Tarzwell, Strategic Policy Manager, at 1724publiccomment@doh.wa.gov.  

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