In response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, Sacramento County Behavioral Health Services (BHS) has provided the following resources for mental health and substance use disorder treatment providers. In addition, please continue to refer to the official Sacramento County COVID-19 webpage at
Questions specific to COVID-19 may be directed to
BHS Information and Resources
Information Letter – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Reminders (March 10, 2020)
Information Letter – Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) Guidance on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation (March 16, 2020)
Information Letter – Telehealth Policy (March 16, 2020)
Summary of Guidance for Telehealth and Remote Service Provision related to COVID-19
(April 8, 2020)
Information Letter – Upcoming Memo – COVID-19 Provider Payments (March 25, 2020)
Email to providers from Ryan Quist, PhD, Behavioral Health Director (March 19, 2020)
Thank you for providing essential services to our community!
BHS COVID Provider Check-In Presentation (March 23, 2020)
Adult Substance Use Support Group Conference Call Information
“Mental Illness: It’s Not Always What You Think” Television Spot
“Mental Illness: It’s Not Always What You Think” Radio Spot (English)
“Mental Illness: It’s Not Always What You Think” Radio Spot (Spanish)
California Information and Resources
State of California Primary COVID-19 Information Page
California Department of Public Health (CDPH) COVID-19 Updates
DHCS Requirements and Procedures for Emergency Medi-Cal Provider Enrollment
DHCS Essential Workforce Letter
Each Mind Matters Self-Care Card
California State Association of Counties COVID-19 Resources
California Counties and CBOs to Request SB 89 Funds to Stabilize Public Behavioral Health Safety Net
On March 22, the County Behavioral Health Directors Association (CBHDA), California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies (CBHA), and the California Alliance of Child and Family Services (Alliance) requested the Administration establish a $100 million county and community-based behavioral health emergency relief fund to stabilize the county behavioral health safety net due to impacts related to COVID-19.
Read the letter to HHSA and DHCS. This funding would be used by county behavioral health to stabilize our providers who are facing COVID-19 related fiscal hardship, address any immediate increase in demand for services related to COVID-19, and lift up new services, as needed. The Administration will need to weigh this request among many others for the SB 89 funding; however, we would appreciate individual and association letters of support addressed to the Administration as well as the legislature for this important funding, which will be needed to ensure the viability of our public behavioral health safety net.
Newsom Administration Clarification of Essential Workforce
Following the Governor’s Stay at Home order, the administration faced a wave of questions and confusion from various sectors about who is and is not considered “essential.”
New guidance from the State of California confirms that behavioral health workers, are, in fact, considered part of the essential workforce who may continue to work during this order.
Excerpts of how the Behavioral Health workforce is defined include:
“Workers in other medical facilities (including Ambulatory Health and Surgical, Blood Banks, Clinics, Community Mental Health, Comprehensive Outpatient rehabilitation, End Stage Renal Disease, Health Departments, Home Health care, Hospices, Hospitals, Long Term Care, Organ Pharmacies, Procurement Organizations, Psychiatric, Residential, Rural Health Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers, cannabis retailers)."
“Behavioral health workers (including mental and substance use disorder) responsible for coordination, outreach, engagement, and treatment to individuals in need of mental health and/or substance use disorder services."
List of "Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers" designated by the State of California Public Health Officer
CDPH Issues Interim Guidance to Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) Regarding Transfer of Patients
all facilities letter states that SNFs are not allowed to ask for a negative COVID-19 test as a condition of transfer for patients with no symptoms of COVID-19. It also establishes procedures for individuals who may have COVID-19.
Project Roomkey Hotel/Motel Funding for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness
The Administration and the Legislature appropriated $150 million to work to immediately shelter homeless individuals as they are at higher risk for contracting COVID-19. Approximately $50 million of those funds will be used to lift up hotels, motels, and trailers to house individuals experiencing homelessness, as they are at extremely high risk due to their underlying health conditions. CBHDA is working to ensure that county behavioral health is being brought in to ensure coordination around the behavioral health needs of the individuals who will be getting newly sheltered through these efforts. Sacramento County is actively involved with this implementation.
California Department of Social Services; the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency; and The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) have shared additional details and guidance on the efforts to provide safe non-congregate shelter options for homeless individuals impacted by COVID-19 in hotels, motels, and trailers, now being called Project Roomkey. Significantly, the state has received first in the nation approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Category B non-congregate sheltering reimbursement for hotel/motel leasing efforts to house unsheltered homeless individuals (75% federal share of
some costs – this is not an increased Federal match for Medi-Cal billed services). Costs that are eligible for reimbursement include basic services necessary for the safe operation of these facilities, including food, security, transportation, laundry, and cleaning. Costs related to case management, mental health services, and other similar services
are not eligible for this reimbursement. The State has indicated that they are working on other avenues to secure some federal reimbursement for these costs.
The federal approval also limits eligibility for FEMA reimbursement to three specific populations:
Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 that do not require hospitalization, but need isolation or quarantine (including those exiting from hospitals);
Individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 (as documented by a state or local public health official, or medical health professional) who do not require hospitalization, but need isolation or quarantine; and
Individuals who are asymptomatic, but are at “high-risk,” such as people over 65 or who have certain underlying health conditions (respiratory, compromised immunities, chronic disease), and who require Emergency NCS as a social distancing measure.
Read More via the CSAC blog write up.
Health Care Licensure Waivers
In response to
Executive Order N-39-20, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) has issued waivers regarding health care licensees, including behavioral health professionals, which have been immediately put into place. Current waivers include:
- Waiving examination and continuing education requirements for current health care licensees, including behavioral health care licensees such as LMFTs, LPCCs, and LCSWs.
- Waiving reinstatement requirements for inactive, retired, and canceled health care licensees.
More information regarding current and upcoming waivers is in development by DCA. This page will be updated as more information is released.
California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions (CIBHS) /
County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California (CBHDA)
Minimizing Disruptions in Care Through the Use of Behavioral Telehealth
The aim of this 11-week webinar series is to consolidate learning from the quick transition to behavioral telehealth services in response to COVID 19. The webinars will teach practical skills to support ongoing improvement of behavioral telehealth. This series is sponsored by the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF). It is tailored for mental health and substance use providers as well as their supervisors.
Registration: Click here to register
Click on the individual webinar links below to view more about the two upcoming webinars:
Ensuring Success in Telehealth: What Staff Need to Know
Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 10:00am-11:30am (PST)
Sign up here to receive future updates.
Empathic Communication and Engagement in Behavioral Telehealth
Wednesday, May 6, 2020, 10:00am-11:30am (PST)
National Information and Resources
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Information
CDC: Personal Protective Equipment Guidelines
CDC: Non-COVID-19 Care Framework
CDC: Guidelines for Communities, Schools, Workplaces, and Events
U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) COVID-19 Information
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) COVID-19 Response
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): COVID-19: Potential Implications for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders
Alert that populations with substance use disorders (SUDs) may be impacted particularly hard
Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) COVID-19 Information and Resources
SAMHSA: Considerations for the Care and Treatment of Mental and Substance Use Disorders in the COVID-19 Epidemic
SAMHSA: Use of Telemedicine While Providing Medication-Assisted Treatment
SAMHSA: Virtual Recovery Services
SAMHSA: Training and Technical Assistance Related to COVID-19
Doors to Wellbeing: Upcoming and Recorded Webinars
Mental Health America: Upcoming and Recorded Webinars
Copeland Center: Recorded Webinars
Relias: How to Provide Telehealth Services Now and Beyond
National Council for Behavioral Health Guidance on COVID-19
The National Council for Behavioral Health has put together
guidance for Behavioral Health Residential Facilities, which reinforces the notion that residential facilities should continue to accept new clients without requiring a negative COVID-19 test, for those individuals for whom COVID-19 infection is not known or suspected due to symptoms/exposure, and offers national-level advice for protocols to protect the safety and wellbeing of residential care facility clients.