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This report expands the County’s knowledge of the people who go through the involuntary treatment process, what factors determine whether they return to the system, and what factors determine the outcomes they receive in court. In 2017, the court responded to more than 3,000 people’s mental health crises across more than 4,700 cases. The way King County approaches this process has the potential to impact the mental health of thousands of vulnerable people every year. To better understand the factors that the County can influence and inform upcoming system improvement efforts, we evaluated what factors may contribute to a person’s likelihood of having subsequent Involuntary Treatment Act Court cases and what factors contribute to different court outcomes. The things that were consistently related to people returning to the system included the person’s case history, race, and housing status, as well the final court order in their case, and the type of hospital that treated them.

Summary

This report expands the County’s knowledge of the people who go through the involuntary treatment process, what factors determine whether they return to the system, and what factors determine the outcomes they receive in court. In 2017, the court responded to more than 3,000 people’s mental health crises across more than 4,700 cases. The way King County approaches this process has the potential to impact the mental health of thousands of vulnerable people every year.

To better understand the factors that the County can influence and inform upcoming system improvement efforts, we evaluated what factors may contribute to a person’s likelihood of having subsequent Involuntary Treatment Act Court cases and what factors contribute to different court outcomes. The things that were consistently related to people returning to the system included the person’s case history, race, and housing status, as well the final court order in their case, and the type of hospital that treated them. Some things that were consistently related to different court outcomes were the use of continuances, the person’s Medicaid Eligibility, and the hospital the person was served by.

Audit team

Laina Poon, Kayvon Zadeh, and Brooke Leary conducted this audit. If you have any questions or would like more information, please call the King County Auditor's Office at 206-477-1033 or contact us by email at KCAO@kingcounty.gov.