Great call again. Here's the email with the joint funding request I mentioned.
Also, Le Ondra just shared in a text that DHCS is going to send out a new Information Notice clarifying the BH workers are an essential part of the workforce. Once we get that I will share it as well. Take care, Paul---------------------------------------------------------------
From: Michelle Cabrera <email@example.com> Sent: Sunday, March 22, 2020 8:55 AM Subject: County and Community Based Organizations Request COVID-19 Relief Funding to Ensure Critical Behavioral Health Safety Net Infrastructure
On behalf of CBHDA, CBHA, and the Alliance, I'm writing to respectfully request your consideration of the establishment of a $100 million SB 89 County Behavioral Health Safety Net COVID-19 relief fund, to help to stabilize our public behavioral health safety net, as it is already being hit hard by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and will be so vital to our overall recovery efforts in the aftermath.
While we appreciate the Administration's focus on ensuring shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness, as you know, not all of our clients are among those living on the streets. We have already experienced that those providers who have had to isolate clients and/or staff due to COVID-19 are in very high danger of going out of business, as they have no ability to bill for services. This is particularly challenging for those SUD residential providers with small margins who cannot access funding via MHSA, but also applies to larger providers who serve both children and adults. Counties have been working within their existing resources to address immediate funding needs, but those resources are insufficient, and in some cases restricted.
The attached letter goes into more detail regarding our proposal, and the various needs we are trying to address, in short order. We believe that with the likely increase in Medi-Cal eligibility and increased mental health and substance use concerns that will be spurred as a result of COVID-19, this safety net is in need of immediate resources so that it can be there to meet those needs in upcoming days, and so that those clients currently in residential facilities and receiving services do not end up themselves discharged into an already burdened system.
Please let us know if you or your teams have questions regarding our SB 89 proposal. Our organizations are ready to work on an expedited timeline to address these needs. And thank you both for your leadership and the hard work of your teams thus far in working with us to remove regulatory and financing barriers in this time of crisis. The teamwork has been phenomenal.
County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California
From: Pfeifer, Kelly (BH)@DHCS <Kelly.Pfeifer@dhcs.ca.gov> Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 2020 10:38 AM To: Le Ondra Clark Harvey <Lclarkharvey@cccbha.org>; Grealish, Brenda (MCBHD)@DHCS <Brenda.Grealish@dhcs.ca.gov> Cc: Paul Curtis <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: RE: Recording: CBHA Member Town Hall Series & DHCS Alert
I apologize --- we needed some time to finalize the language.
This information will be coming out soon to all stakeholders:
Dear DHCS Stakeholders,
DHCS is receiving many questions asking for clarification as to what constitutes an "essential workforce" during this COVID-19 State of Emergency. To help answer those questions we've gathered some important information from the state's COVID-19 information center, a key part of the state's effort to protect and inform ourselves and our communities during the COVID-19 emergency.
The Healthcare and Public Health (HPH) Sector is important and vast, ranging from large-scale health care facilities, and local physicians' offices, to our state supported behavioral health providers. All of them, large and small, are parts of our essential workforce – which is more critical now than perhaps ever before, as we work together against COVID-19.
Officially called Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers, these essential individuals are the clinical, professional, and support staff now providing COVID-19 testing, medical, behavioral and substance use staff treating patients, the nurses providing care and advice, infection control personnel, pharmacists, and more. The nature of an emergency requires that virtually everyone, including administrative and support staff that assist the clinicians, nurses and other staff to do their jobs, be available to provide essential support during an incident such as the COVID-19 emergency.
As such, these essential workforce members are deemed necessary to maintain the continuity of operations in the Healthcare and Public Health Sector. Because of that "necessary" designation, when they are supporting essential critical infrastructure sectors, like health care, they are not subject to the State's public health directives to stay at home.
DHCS, whose workers are also a part of the essential workforce, is closely following all state guidance and directives. For example, we are encouraging employees to take recommended safety precautions and to work remotely, using technology such as telehealth wherever possible. DHCS also encourages other health care partners supporting the COVID-19 effort to take protective measures and use telehealth whenever appropriate. To support these telehealth recommendations, DHCS has provided flexibility around reimbursement for virtual care by health care provides. For details, see our COVID-19 Response website, which is frequently updated with guidance related to telehealth and other COVID-19 questions.
Finally, to ensure services are available for those most in need, DHCS also encourages triage and prioritization, including delaying or canceling routine/non-urgent care to make capacity for those needing urgent help.
Kelly Pfeifer, M.D.
Deputy Director, Behavioral Health California Department of Health Care Services
1501 Capitol Avenue, MS 4000
Sacramento, CA 95899-7413