Our Task Force members had a meeting with Senator Darneille (D-27) early October to seek guidance for what direction we music therapists in WA as a whole should head to regarding music therapy recognition in WA. Sen. Darneille has been a long-standing supporter of our advocacy effort since its early stage back in 2008.
We explained our recent successes including significantly-increased number of music therapists in the state, ongoing additions of music therapy programs, and the upcoming expansion and addition of Medicaid waivers to cover music therapy. We also addressed challenges of following the Sunrise Review recommendations to increase access to music therapy and obtain regulatory support to include music therapy language at the state level.
Sen. Darneille shared with us that one of the legislative focuses in the upcoming session will be the expansion on mental health services among youth and agreed that the benefits of music therapy could potentially support this agenda and opened a door for music therapy to be more recognized.
At the end of our meeting, she recommended introducing a music therapy licensure bill in the upcoming session that resumes on January 14, 2019. Our National team is currently preparing for a bill draft for the Sen. Darneille's office to review. We will continue to closely collaborate with Sen. Darneille's office and solicit support from other legislators to sponsor the bill in the coming weeks.