Lack of Health Outcomes

Update on Outcome Reporting in the Washington State Mental Health System

I. The JLARC report
In 2000, the Washington State Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee produced a report entitled Mental Health System Performance Audit analyzing the Washington State Mental Health System.* This report had been requested by the Washington State Legislature. The report noted that “Legislative enactments in 1995 directed the MHD to streamline process-oriented oversight activities and focus on consumer and system outcomes.” In other words, the legislative intention to have a mental health system that tracks consumer outcomes has been in place for at least 18 years.


Among the “major findings” of the JLARC report were the following:

The MHD has made efforts to streamline burdensome activities to promote system accountability. However, these accountability activities are focused on processes of service, rather than on outcomes of service. There is almost no information collected on a statewide basis on client or system outcomes. (p. 3)

Because of the lack of statewide outcome data, comparisons of the effectiveness of services provided by RSNs and providers are impossible. (p. 3)