An artist’s rendering shows a new Compass Health facility on Broadway that will house a 16-bed mental health evaluation and treatment center and a 14-bed triage center, along with offices for crisis prevention, outreach and engagement teams. (Compass Health)

An artist’s rendering shows a new Compass Health facility on Broadway that will house a 16-bed mental health evaluation and treatment center and a 14-bed triage center, along with offices for crisis prevention, outreach and engagement teams. (Compass Health)

Compass Health closing downtown Everett triage center for up to 3 years

In 2022, the center served 254 clients with behavioral health crises. It leaves a gap for people seeking behavioral health support.

EVERETT — Compass Health is closing the Snohomish County Triage Center in downtown Everett, with the last clients admitted no later than April 21.

That’s because Compass Health plans to demolish the four-story Bailey Building at 3322 Broadway as part of its Broadway campus redevelopment plan. This leaves a gap of up to three years for people voluntarily seeking behavioral health support and stabilization, while construction of a new facility is completed.

The decision to close the building came as a last resort after all other options were exhausted, Compass Health CEO Tom Sebastian said in a statement.

“I want to reinforce that our team worked very hard to relocate and find solutions to keep the Snohomish County Triage Center open during construction of our new facility on Broadway,” Sebastian wrote. “Compass Health is 100 percent committed to reopening our crisis stabilization program as part of our Broadway Campus Redevelopment’s second phase.”

Compass has operated a triage program in Snohomish County since 1987, serving a unique role for people experiencing mental health crises. If they do not have other medical needs, a hospital emergency room, crisis responder or law enforcement officer might refer someone, voluntarily, to the triage center. Some stay for up to five days for support and stabilization.

The center served 254 clients in 2022 and currently has a staff of 29. Compass is “working closely with staff members to identify other open positions with Compass Health,” according to the organization’s blog post.

Everett police Lt. Kevin Fairchild said while officers’ involvement with people in mental health crises has declined in recent years, “we like to have more options, not fewer. It’s unfortunate, but we understand.”

He said police officers will “make do, and adjust to make sure we are providing services and assistance, particularly with the help of designated crisis responders.” Those mental health professionals can assess if the person might need involuntary treatment for their own or others’ safety, or if they are candidates for a place like the triage center.

Snohomish County will soon announce recipients of funding for behavioral health treatment projects. The county already funds or provides services for crisis stabilization at the Diversion Center and the Evergreen Recovery Center detox program.

Cammy Hart-Anderson, the division manager for chemical dependency, mental health and veterans services for Snohomish County’s Human Services Department, wrote: “In Snohomish County, and across our state and country, we do not have adequate resources to address the complex and layered needs of individuals experiencing behavioral health crises. Because of this, the closure of any facility providing crisis stabilization services is unfortunate. However, we are confident in Compass’s plans to site a state-of-the-art facility for intensive behavioral health services in Snohomish County.”

People experiencing a mental health, substance use or suicidal crisis can find services by calling or texting 988, or calling the Crisis Services Line at 800-584-3578.

We will continue to report on access to health care. If you have faced barriers to accessing timely, convenient or affordable care in Snohomish County, please fill out this brief form: forms.gle/y5HH5zLpThkG1BXH7

Correction: A previous version of this article said the Snohomish County Triage Center has operated since 2011. Compass Health has operated a triage program in Snohomish County since 1987. The article has been updated accordingly.

Joy Borkholder: 425-339-3430; joy.borkholder@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jlbinvestigates.

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