CHA was part of a recent call with the California Health & Human Services (HHS) Behavioral Health Secretary, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), and County Behavioral Health Directors Association (CBHDA) in which a number of COVID-19-related topics were discussed.
Here are the highlights:
- The HHS reported that it is acutely aware general acute care hospital beds should be preserved for patients with acute medical needs and not be used for individuals in need of behavioral health care without a physical health component.
- A $15 million funding request has been submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to support psychiatric surge settings.
- Local Medical Health Operational Area Coordinators are generally not prepared to help community behavioral health facilities with staffing needs.
- Alternate destinations considerations are being discussed to help divert patients on involuntary holds without physical health conditions from emergency departments (EDs).
- CBHDA is working on a contact list to share with ED directors to encourage local coordination related to the thruput of patients with psychiatric conditions
In addition, DHCS is hosting weekly 8 a.m. (PT) Wednesday calls for all behavioral health providers. The calls, which will feature subject matter experts from the California Department of Public Health, California Department of Social Services, and DHCS will provide updates on emergency surge response, and answer questions about licensing and certification flexibilities, alternative sites, testing, vaccination, isolation and quarantine, and more. Information related to future calls will be available in Coronavirus Response.