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The Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) is committed to providing behavioral health providers with additional guidance and resources throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency. This webpage will serve as the hub for all COVID-19-related information from OBH.
OBH remains open for business and continues to serve Coloradans in need as well as to support providers. Governor Jared Polis's Protect Our Neighbors model does not change our expectations of behavioral health providers. Providers should review OBH's expectations on continuing emergency services during this time.
>> Visit the State of Colorado COVID-19 website <<
Behavioral Health Resources for COVID-19
Substance Use and Mental Health Support• Find Behavioral Health Help • Telehealth Information for Coloradans - State of Colorado • Mental Health And COVID-19 – Information And Resources - Mental Health America• Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration• Stress and Coping During COVID-19 - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention• Alcohol and Substance Use During COVID-19 - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Resources for Children and Youth
• Mental Health Tools for Back-to-School - Mind Springs Health
• Talking to children about the pandemic - National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)
• Guide for Schools on a Trauma-Informed Approach to Teaching through the Coronavirus - NCTSN
• Ways to Promote Children’s Resilience to the COVID-19 Pandemic - Child Trends
• Four Tips to Help Your Child Through the COVID-19 Crisis - COACT Colorado, Children's Hospital Colorado and Partners for Children's Mental Health
• Supporting Your Children During COVID-19 - CDHS Office of Early Childhood
OBH Updates for ProvidersJune 3, 2020May 15, 2020May 1, 2020April 21, 2020April 13, 2020April 3, 2020March 27, 2020March 19, 2020March 12, 2020Sign up for OBH email updates.
COVID-19 Social Media Toolkits
• Colorado Crisis Services
• Lift The Label
• Below the Surface
OBH Resources for ProvidersQuick Links• Recommended Screening Protocol for Face-to-Face Services• OBH Letter of Support when purchasing needed supplies• SAMHSA Letter of Support when purchasing personal protective equipment• Federal COVID-19 Guidance Roundup• State Agencies COVID-19 Guidance Roundup• Resources for health care professionals from the American Medical Association and the National Academy of Medicine
Reminder on Facility Closures: By OBH rule, all licensed and designated facilities must notify OBH of any closures immediately. Please contact your program manager as soon as possible to help us determine service gaps and potential referrals.
Our priority during this time is to continue to serve Coloradans in need. To help providers prioritize services, OBH is sharing the following expectations:
Behavioral Health Executive Order: On April 11, 2020, Governor Polis issued an executive order that temporarily suspends two provisions in C.R.S. 27-65 for each person receiving evaluation, care, or treatment for a mental health disorder in a public or private behavioral health facility. The executive order suspends C.R.S. § 27-65-117(1)(e), which gives each person the right to wear his or her own clothes, and C.R.S. § 27-65-117(1)(d), which gives each person the right to have frequent and convenient opportunities to meet with visitors. Per the executive order, individuals should be provided with new or clean clothes during any COVID-19-related period of isolation. The executive order also encourages facilities to provide methods for electronic interaction as facilities limit visitors to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The executive order was extended for an additional 30 days on July 8, 2020.
OBH Letter in Support of Critical Equipment Purchase: We have heard that some suppliers are rejecting protective and other COVID-19-related equipment purchases from behavioral health providers. Under Colorado Public Health Order 20-24 and Executive Order D 2020 017, health care operations and behavioral health providers are considered critical businesses. We have drafted a letter from OBH that providers can use in support of purchasing needed supplies.
OBH has received many questions about contracts. Here is how we are assisting you:
On June 12, the State Board of Human Services modified and permanently adopted the emergency rules that went into effect on April 3. The rules help providers continue essential behavioral health services safely by allowing for the following actions: Utilization of verbal consent to treatment, Behavioral health services using video technology, Emergency license modification for agencies to continue to provide behavioral health services in the event of a statewide emergency, and Modification of on-site inspection requirements for agency license and designation reviews. View the permanent rules here.
As we respond to the outbreak, OBH aims to continue vital behavioral health services while minimizing the risk of infection for patients and staff. We want to remind you that OBH does not require face-to-face visits, and we are working with jails to acquire equipment needed for telehealth to conduct services. With appropriate modifications in place, jails can still identify and treat patients with behavioral health treatment needs and ensure individuals with psychiatric conditions are getting medications and necessary treatment services. Read OBH guidance from March 25, 2020.
Court-Ordered Competency Evaluations: OBH is stopping face-to-face court-ordered competency evaluations. We are working with jails to acquire equipment needed for tele-evaluation capacities to conduct all competency evaluations. While we finalize the implementation of tele-evaluations, attorneys or jail staff may contact Lori Carter at the Court Services Department at firstname.lastname@example.org to refer pretrial detainees ordered for competency services in immediate need for hospitalization to be evaluated. Read OBH guidance from April 7, 2020.
Update on Purchase Orders for Telehealth Equipment: OBH recently executed purchase orders (PO) to support telehealth equipment purchases. This memorandum provides guidance on how to receive reimbursement from these POs and shares telehealth and equipment options from several telehealth video technology providers.
Signal Behavioral Health, a Managed Service Organization (MSO) and Administrative Services Organization, released this guide with additional recommendations for providers. OBH is sharing this guidance, as it’s useful for providers in maintaining service delivery. Read more on the OBH blog.
Certified Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) cannot close without approval from OBH, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). If you are considering closing, please contact State Opioid Treatment Authority Amy Cooper at email@example.com.
Rule Update: The State Board of Human Services approved an emergency rule update on April 3 that immediately allows for verbal consent to treatment and using video technology for behavioral health services among other actions. OTPs may receive patient consent to treatment with a controlled substance and acknowledgements by signature (wet or electronic) or by documented verbal/oral consent. The rule update streamlines OTP rules with guidance provided by SAMHSA.