About the Recovery Navigator Program
Funding for the Recovery Navigator Program is supported by General State Funds (GSF) appropriated by the legislature in ESB 5476 which creates additional diversionary efforts, including directing the Health Care Authority (HCA) to establish measures to assist individuals with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) in accessing outreach, treatment and recovery support services. These services are to be low barrier, in an effort to divert individuals from being prosecuted under the revised language of RCW 69.50.4013(1). In doing this, the GCBH (ASO) shall establish a Recovery Navigator Program to deliver community-based outreach, intake, assessment and connection to treatment services for individuals struggling with SUD, who encounter law enforcement and other first responders.
The priority population for the Recovery Navigator Program (RNP) are individuals with substance use disorders (SUD) and co-occurring mental health disorders who are at risk of arrest and/or have frequent contact with first responders, community members, friends, and/or family members who could benefit from being connected to supportive resources and public health services when amenable. The primary function of RNP is connection and stabilization with respect to a variety of social determinants/vulnerability factors. RNP is field based and intended to reach and engage individuals who are not actively seeking care in medical or behavioral health treatment facilities. This does not exclude those individuals already engaged in behavioral health or medical services.
The Recovery Navigator program (RNP) can serve all populations with substance use disorders regardless of insurance type or lack thereof. RNP is strictly voluntary and under no obligations to therapeutic courts, deferred sentencing requirements, or deferred prosecution action. Sobriety or abstinence is not a requirement and no compliance monitoring, such as urinalysis testing or other invasive means as a mechanism to determine abstinence, will be used.
There are two referral types consisting of point of contact referrals and social contact referrals. Point of contact referrals are made by law enforcement when an alleged criminal act has been committed or potential arrest will occur due to symptoms of a SUD or occurring behavioral health emergency. The RNP is meant to have a “no wrong door” approach, receiving referrals from many different sources within the community, with priority given to referrals received from law enforcement. Arrest diversion gives law enforcement officers the authority to refer people into the RNP in lieu of arrest (RCW 10.31.110, RCW 13.40.042, and ESB 5476 §13). Social contact referrals are referrals made by any source (law enforcement, service providers, community members, and friends/family) and do not involve immanency or potential arrest at the time of contact.
Each RNP will provide services at minimum 7 days a week from the hours of 0900-1700. Afterhours referrals can be made through existing triage systems, or referred to the appropriate crisis response systems, depending on the severity of the behavioral health symptoms and the needs of the individual being referred. It is the goal of the RNP to have Outreach Coordinator and Case Management positions held by an individual with lived experience with Substance Use and/or the criminal justice system.