State of Washington
Department of Social and Health Services
Behavioral Health Administration
Office of Forensic Mental Health Services
Request for Information #1730-643 (Reissued)
Forensic Evaluation Services
Earlier this year, the Office of Forensic Mental Health Services of the Behavioral Health Administration of the Department of Social and Health Services of the state of Washington (Department) requested information from qualified professionals interested in contracting with the Department to perform forensic evaluations of individuals referred to the Department by the courts. The response to our previous Request for Information (RFI) was limited. Through this document, the Department is re-issuing its RFI and is requesting different information, including feedback from the professional community on the rates that should be established for the performance of forensic evaluations. Persons who responded to the initial RFI may wish to consider supplementing their prior responses, if appropriate. The Department also wishes to clarify that its needs are limited to professionals with experience in performing forensic evaluations of criminal defendants and to encourage professionals who are developing this skill set to inquire about opportunities with the Department in the future.
After receiving information in response to this RFI, the Department may elect to enter into contracts for the performance of forensic evaluations.
The Department is responsible for the provision of certain forensic mental health services ordered by a court, pursuant to RCW 10.77, with respect to individuals who are charged with a crime within the state of Washington. One type of forensic mental health service consists of the evaluation of an individual’s competency to stand trial, referred to in this document as a “forensic evaluation.” Another type of forensic mental health service consists of treatment which attempts to restore the competency of an individual who has been found incompetent to stand trial, referred to in this document as “competency restoration.” Forensic evaluations are presently provided in jail facilities, the state hospitals, and in the community. In the main, these forensic services are provided by Department personnel. Complementing the work of Department personnel, some in- jail forensic evaluations are presently performed by professionals whose services are arranged by counties and reimbursed by the Department (“panel evaluations”). Competency restoration services are presently provided in the state hospitals and in two temporary residential treatment facilities contracted by the Department.
In recent years, the Department has experienced increasing demand for its forensic evaluation and competency restoration services and has been ordered to provide each of these types of services within short turnaround times imposed under statutory provisions and court orders. The Department and its many community partners have made significant efforts to expand and improve the delivery of forensic mental health services.
In furtherance of these efforts, the Office of Forensic Mental Health Services (OFMHS) was established within the Department’s Behavioral Health Administration in 2015. The OFMHS has responsibility for the organization and oversight of forensic mental health services within the state of Washington. In addition to operationalizing alternative sites for the provision of competency restoration services outside the State Hospitals, the OFMHS has initiated diversion programs, improved data collection and tracking, increased the number of forensic evaluators employed by the Department and implemented training activities to improve the quality of forensic evaluations.
Forensic Evaluation Service Goals
The goal of contracting forensic evaluation services is to expand capacity to help ensure that forensic evaluations are completed, and reports are provided to the courts, within seven (7) days following the entry of a court order referring a detainee for evaluation. Despite the expansion of the Department’s team of employed forensic evaluators, the Department is still not fully able to meet the required timeline for every person ordered by the court to receive a jail-based evaluation. Contracted evaluators may be interested in supplementing their existing practices to assist the Department, may be available to provide services during off hours and weekends when Department forensic evaluators are not routinely available, or may be situated in geographic regions that are not as frequently and conveniently served by Department forensic evaluators.
Most forensic evaluations are performed within jail facilities, but some evaluations may be performed in a professional office/community setting. Depending upon its needs and the qualifications and availability of respondents, the Department may elect to contract with multiple professionals to provide forensic evaluations within the time frames and geographic areas where the Department has service needs. Any contracts entered into by the Department would be subject to the needs of the Department and to the availability of the Contractor, as evidenced by the acceptance of a referral.
Minimum Respondent Qualifications
The Department is seeking information from professionals who are either:
1. A psychiatrist licensed as a physician and surgeon in the state of Washington who has, in addition, completed three years of graduate training in psychiatry in a program approved by the American Medical Association or the American Osteopathic Association and is certified or eligible to be certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology or the American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry;
2. A psychologist licensed as a psychologist pursuant to chapter 18.83 RCW; or
3. A social worker with a master’s or further advanced degree from a social work educational program accredited and approved as provided in RCW 18.320.010.
In addition, respondents should meet the following minimum experience/training/certification requirements: experience performing competency evaluations of criminal defendants; knowledge of competency statutes; psychological testing knowledge; excellent clinical assessment and diagnostic skills; strong report writing skills; satisfactory criminal background check results.
Persons who fall within one of the above categories and who do not meet the minimum experience, training and certification requirements set forth above should not respond to this Request for Information, since they cannot be considered at this time. The Department will consider respondents interested in providing in-person evaluations and may, in the near future, consider respondents who provide services using telehealth technology.
Request for Information Goals and Process
Your response to this RFI is important to the Department and is greatly appreciated.
This Request for Information is not a competitive solicitation that will result in the award of one or more contracts. Rather, it is intended to obtain information that may assist the Department in determining its contractual options, should the Department elect to contract directly with multiple professionals who may have requisite qualifications and varying geographic and time availability. Participation in this RFI is voluntary and responses are not considered proposals. This document does not obligate the Department to evaluate the services of any respondent or to negotiate or enter into any contracts. The Department reserves the right to explore any and all options for meeting its service needs including, but not limited to, options that are brought to its attention through this RFI. The Department shall not be responsible for any cost that may be incurred by persons responding to this RFI.
Notice of this RFI is being sent to known potential contractors and will be published on the Department’s website as well as on Washington’s Electronic Business Solution (WEBS), the procurement website hosted by the State Department of Enterprise Services (DES). The Department reserves the right to utilize freely any ideas and information received as a result of this RFI in planning and developing potential solutions to the Department’s Service requirements.
Questions and Answers about this RFI
Questions regarding this RFI may be directed via e-mail or regular mail to the RFI Coordinator listed below. Please provide your questions in writing, rather than verbally, and include the words RFI # 1730-643 in the subject line. Questions will be accepted through June 30, 2017. To the extent possible, answers will be consolidated and answered in an Amendment to this RFI that is posted on published on the Department’s website and on WEBS on or about July 15, 2017. The following is a link to the web page on the Department’s website where documents relating to this RFI will be posted: https://www.dshs.wa.gov/fsa/central-contract-services/procurements-and-contracting
How to Respond to this RFI
If you are interested in providing information in response to this RFI, please submit a letter of interest together with a completed questionnaire. The questionnaire is appended to this RFI as Attachment 1. Please submit your response so that it is received no later than July 31, 2017. Emailed responses are preferred. You may email your response, deliver it or send it via regular mail to:
Dr. Thomas Kinlen, Director
Office of Forensic Mental Health Services
Behavioral Health Administration
Washington State Department of Social and Health Services
4500 10th Avenue S.E., Lacey, WA 98503 (for Responses that are delivered)
P.O. Box 45050, Olympia, WA 98504-5050 (for Responses that are mailed)
firstname.lastname@example.org (for Responses that are emailed)
The Department of Social and Health Services is subject to public records laws and cannot guarantee the confidentiality of responses. Therefore, submission of information considered confidential and proprietary by respondents is strongly discouraged. Respondents who consider any information that is requested on Attachment 1 to be confidential and proprietary should refrain from providing this information and note the concern. The Department may require additional information at a later time, if it considers the respondent for a contract, and appreciates receipt of any information that it can use to identify potential contractors. If the Department receives a request to view or copy any response to this RFI, it will respond according to applicable law and policy governing public disclosure. Please assume that your response will be made available for public disclosure.
Timeline and Next Steps
Following a review of the responses it receives, the Department may choose to interview one or more professionals, may request additional information from some or all respondents, and may enter into one or more contracts beginning in or after Summer 2017.
Thank you for your assistance and participation in this Request for Information.