COVID-19 Provider Newsletter | Issue 5


In an effort to keep you up-to-date during this time, the Alliance is publishing a COVID-19 e-newsletter every Monday for our providers.

Behavioral health resources for staff and members

Alliance staff has put together a list of resources to assist your practice and patients in finding behavioral health support in Merced, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties and throughout California. See the table below for a list of tools we hope will provide support to you and your staff as you help members through this challenging time.


Mental health services are available to Alliance members through Beacon Health Options (Beacon). Please direct members to Beacon at 855-765-9700 to speak with someone who can help connect them with the mental health services they need.


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All Beacon Health Options Offers Alliance members mild-to-moderate mental health services. Call 855-765-9700, M-F, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Website has a variety of information and resources to meet the mental health needs arising from COVID-19.
All California Department of
Pwm Li Cas
Guidance for Women, Families and Health Care Professionals during COVID-19. Call 833-544-2374.
All Domestic Violence – Loveisrespect.org For anyone affected by abuse and needing support, call 800-799-7233, or if unable to speak safely, log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
All Dr. Shon Huey of Lighthouse Psychological Services Psychologist and parent who is holding a virtual children’s support group during COVID-19.  Held from 4-5 p.m. on Mondays (ages 6-8) and Wednesdays (ages 9-11).
All Emotional Health – CDC Resources for stress and coping during COVID-19.
All Mental Health America Living with Mental Illness During COVID-19 resource. Call the 24-hour crisis center at 800-273-8255 or text MHA to 741741.
All The Mental Health Association
of San Francisco
Offering free emotional support assistance for all Californians. Call 855-845-7415.
All NAMI COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide. Call 800-950-6264, M-F, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time)
All Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Free 24-hour Disaster Distress Helpline provides crisis counseling and support. Call 800-985-5990.
Merced Legacy Health Endowment, First Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center and A Step Forward COVID-19 Family Counseling Program to provide virtual mental health services to North Merced County residents 4-25 years old during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Call 209-548-2356 or email [email protected].
Merced Merced County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Call 888-334-0163. M-F, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cheeb Nroog Monterey Monterey County Behavioral
Call 888-258-6029.
Cheeb Nroog Santa Cruz Health Services Agency Behavioral Health Division Expanding capacity to provide services in the office for those who can’t access a telehealth appointment on their own. The provider will work with the patient to schedule a time to come in, or patient can call to see a provider using the telehealth model. Call the Crisis Hotline at 800-952-2335.
Cheeb Nroog Santa Cruz Pajaro Valley Prevention & Student Assistance (PVPSA) Providing counseling services through voice and video conferencing or in person for emergencies. Location at 411 East Lake in Watsonville remains open for crisis and walk-in situations only. Call 831-728-6445.
Cheeb Nroog Santa Cruz Santa Cruz County Office of Education Mental health and wellness resources for families during COVID-19.

Recent data shows hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine may be harmful

In our first e-newsletter, we had communicated in the pharmacy and prescription updates that there was no currently available data on treating COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine. Since then, new information from the FDA shows that the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for COVID-19, either alone or combined with azithromycin, should be limited to clinical trial settings or for treating certain hospitalized patients under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine may cause serious heart rhythm problems, especially combined with other medications that are known to prolong QT interval, such as azithromycin. Patients who also have other health issues, such as heart and kidney disease, are likely to be at increased risk of these heart problems when receiving these medicines.

The Alliance is monitoring FDA guidance on the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for COVID-19 as the agency continues to investigate risks associated with their use. We will continue to provide updates when more information is available.


FDA “FDA cautions against use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for COVID-19 outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems”

Telehealth in your Office

eConsults | Medical specialists at your fingertips

eConsults – your ability to consult online with a specialist – allow you to provide your patients with quality, informed care.

eConsults allow you to navigate patient specialty care needs and avoid pending referrals to be processed. By taking this patient-centered approach, an escalation of medical issues can be prevented and additional health risks associated with in-office visits can be avoided.

To learn how you can connect with board-certified medical specialists through an eConsult vendor, contact a Provider Relations Specialist at 800-700-3874, ext. 5504.

Virtual Visits | Educating patients

Fears around contracting COVID-19 have left patients wondering if and when it’s appropriate (and safe!) to see a doctor or go to the emergency room. For those with chronic health conditions, going to the doctor can be a catch-22, as they are particularly at risk for COVID-19 complications, but are also often the most in need of care. Virtual visits provide a solution – a safe, no-contact, and increasingly efficient way to provide medical care to those who need it most. Unfortunately, there are some misconceptions around telehealth visits, including patients believing that internet access or special equipment, such as a laptop, are required for the visit to occur.

We encourage you to discuss with your patients any minimum requirements – such as a smart phone, tablet or internet access – they will need to have available to ensure they can participate fully in their virtual visit.

Some patients may also be unaware of  the benefits of phone visits such as:

  • the quick and convenient format are ideal for patients in remote rural areas,
  • providers can use the visit to diagnose or refer patients for additional care,
  • the visits are an easy way to create and maintain a plan of care,
  • they provide an efficient way to check-in for a prescription refill, and
  • easy access to mental health services.


Encourage your patients to try a virtual visit for their next scheduled medical appointment – it’s safe, easy, and effective.