Biweekly Briefing Articles

5 Things To Know: Fentanyl Screening, Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), CHA Forum, State of Emergency, Behavioral Health

FENTANYL SCREENING: The California Department of Public Health has issued an All Facilities Letter (AFL) 22-25 on fentanyl screening. The AFL notifies general acute care hospitals (GACH) of the passage of Senate Bill 864 (Chapter 169, Statutes of 2022) and its requirement that a GACH that is conducting a diagnostic urine drug screening must also include testing for fentanyl, until Jan. 1, 2028. For questions about this AFL, hospitals should contact their respective district office.

CHNA: On Nov. 29, HASD&IC held a community stakeholder meeting on the 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment. More than 130 people attended and had a chance to hear a presentation on the report and participate in discussion about potential future research and next steps to address identified community needs. For those who have viewed the report, please consider providing your feedback through this survey.

CHA FORUM: On Dec. 13, the California Hospital Association (CHA) will host a forum on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) public assistance funds and provide an update on advocacy efforts to expedite the obligation of FEMA funds for CHA members. FEMA public assistance represents an important source of funding to help governmental and not-for-profit hospitals and health systems offset COVID-19-related expenses. However, CHA members have experienced numerous delays in getting their applications processed. This forum will also be used to solicit feedback from participants that will inform CHA’s ongoing efforts related to FEMA public assistance funds

STATE OF EMERGENCY: As the end of the state of emergency approaches on Feb. 28, it’s time to start planning and submit program flex requests to the California Department of Health Centralized Program Flex Unit to maintain both space waivers and tents. During the pandemic these requests were redirected through the local district office. However, they are moving back to the Centralized Program Flex Unit. Hospitals are also asked to communicate with their local district office regarding program flexes submitted so they are aware and can offer support for approvals as needed.

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH: On Nov. 15, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) released the California Behavioral Health Community-Based Continuum (CalBH-CBC) Demonstration concept paper, which announces DHCS’ intent to apply for a new Medicaid Section 1115 demonstration. The demonstration will expand a robust continuum of community-based behavioral health care services for Medi-Cal beneficiaries living with serious mental illness (SMI) and serious emotional disturbance (SED). It takes advantage of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ guidance and associated federal funding aimed at improving care for people living with SMI or SED. It will also amplify California’s ongoing behavioral health initiatives and be informed by findings from DHCS’ 2022 Assessing the Continuum of Care for Behavioral Health Services in California. In the months ahead, DHCS will work with stakeholders to refine and revise the approach to the CalBH-CBC Demonstration with the intent of submitting a formal demonstration application to the federal government in 2023. DHCS will accept public comments on the concept paper through Jan. 13. Please submit feedback to and include “CalBH-CBC Demonstration” in the subject line. For more information, visit the CalBH-CBC web page.