Behavioral Health Menu

Client & Family Information

Welcome to Santa Cruz County Behavioral Health Services (BHS) 

County Behavioral Health Services (BHS) is a Division of the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency (HSA). At BHS, we care for the whole person with compassion and respect your cultural values and unique needs. Our goal is to help you achieve and maintain long term health, wellness, and recovery; and to foster healthy families and communities. We aim to provide an integrative service delivery model through strength based, accessible, culturally, and linguistically appropriate services. We work in partnership with community treatment providers to provide outpatient, residential, crisis services, and care coordination care addressing specialty mental health and substance use service needs of Santa Cruz County Medi-Cal beneficiaries and uninsured residents.

The BHS Access Line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer questions about services, arrange appointments, and make referrals. To call the Access Line, dial (800) 952-2335. 

Individuals seeking services from BHS often present with complex problems that include mental health, substance use, and physical health needs. With your input and focus on necessary comprehensive care, our treatment staff strive to recognize, assess, and address the complexities of the lives of the people served.

Recovery is real. We see it every day. We have the utmost respect for the work and strength clients in recovery demonstrate.

In order to give you an initial orientation about the services available to you, we have carefully assembled this Welcome Packet that includes all the information you need to start accessing our network of care.  

This information is available in paper form without charge upon request, Paper forms are available at our Behavioral Health Clinics and the County will mail requested paper copies via post office within 5 business days. Please contact your provider or BHS ACCESS at (800) 952-2335. For hearing impaired clients: Dial 711 or  or TDD for hearing impaired: 711 or or send us an email.

What is a “Beneficiary”?

The person who is enrolled in the Medi-Cal insurance plan is called a “beneficiary”. Santa Cruz County residents who are enrolled in the Medi-Cal insurance plan with Central California Alliance for Health (CCAH, or “the Alliance”) have access to included Medi-Cal benefits related to mental health and substance use disorder services. BHS provides specialty mental health and substance use disorder services to children, youth, transition age, adult and older adults.

Member Educational Resource for Health Record Access and Safeguarding Data 

Having easy access to your health record is an essential tool that can help you monitor your health and make informed decisions about your care. With so many options to help you access your health information electronically, it is not always easy knowing what options are trustworthy. Here are three helpful tips to consider and questions you can ask to help you protect your health information.

1. Know your rights. Be safe and protect your health information.
  • You have a right to your own health data.
  • You have a right to have corrections added to your health information.
  • You have a right to decide who it's shared with.
Some health apps are safer than others. Be aware that third-party apps will likely not be covered by HIPAA. Most third-party apps will instead fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the protections provided by the FTC Act.
2. Be informed About Where the Data Goes. Questions you should ask and think about:
  • Where are you sending your information? Is it by a secure method?
  • Is the Personal Health Record (PHR) or App a member of the CARIN Alliance? (This is a new collaborative focused on the quality and security of patient digital records.).
  • Read the Terms and Conditions of third-party apps carefully before providing them with your personal healthcare information.
    • What health data will this app collect?
    • Will this app collect non-health data from my device, such as my location?
    • Will my data be stored in a de-identified or anonymized form?
    • How will this app use my data?
    • Will this app disclose my data to third parties?
    • Will this app sell my data for any reason, such as advertising or research?
    • Will this app share my data for any reason? If so, with whom? For what purpose?
    • How can I limit this app’s use and disclosure of my data?
    • What security measures does this app use to protect my data?
    • What impact could sharing my data with this app have on others, such as my family members?
    • How can I access my data and correct inaccuracies in data retrieved by this app?
    • Does this app have a process for collecting and responding to user complaints?
    • If I no longer want to use this app, or if I no longer want this app to have access to my health information, how do I terminate the app’s access to my data?
    • What is the app’s policy for deleting my data once I terminate access? Do I have to do more than just delete the app from my device?
    • How does this app inform users of changes that could affect its privacy practices?
3. Know what types of organizations must follow HIPAA privacy laws (covered entities)

HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It is a federal law that sets a national standard to protect medical records and other personal health information.

Organizations that must follow these privacy laws are called covered entities, which include:

  • Health Plans, including health insurance companies, HMOs, company health plans, and certain government programs that pay for health care, such as Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Most Health Care Providers—those that conduct certain business electronically, such as electronically billing your health insurance—including most doctors, clinics, hospitals, psychologists, chiropractors, nursing homes, pharmacies, and dentists.
  • Health Care Clearinghouses—entities that process nonstandard health information they receive from another entity into a standard (i.e., standard electronic format or data content), or vice versa.

Who else needs to follow HIPAA privacy laws? 

  • Business associates of covered entities must follow parts of the HIPAA regulations. 
    • Contractors, subcontractors, and other outside persons and companies that are not employees of a covered entity will need to have access to your health information when providing services to the covered entity. We call these entities “business associates.” Examples of business associates include: Companies that help your doctors get paid for providing health care, including billing companies and companies that process your health care claims 
    • Companies that help administer health plans 
    • People like outside lawyers, accountants, and IT specialists 
    • Companies that store or destroy medical records 

Organizations that do not fall into the above categories are not covered entities and may not be subject to HIPAA regulations. In other words, they, do not have to follow the same privacy laws to protect your data.  

Additional Health Record Resources

HIPAA Frequently Asked Questions 

https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-individuals/faq/index.html 

Federal Trade Commission information on mobile privacy and security:  

https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-websites-and-apps-collect-and-use-your-information  

Filing a Complaint or Reporting  

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules, and the Patient Safety Act and Rule. 

If you believe your health information privacy has been breached or an app has used your data inappropriately, you can file a complaint online or in writing by using the portal below. 

https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/filing-a-complaint/index.html  

Patient Access API Member Education and Resources 

API Member Education (santacruzhealth.org)

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Information

How to Receive
Mental Health Services

Como obtener servicios de Salud Mental

How to Receive
Substance Use Disorder (SUDS) Services

(800) 952-2335
24-Hour Access Line

(831) 454-4170
Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm
1400 Emeline Ave.
Santa Cruz, CA
or
(831) 763-8200
Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm
1430 Freedom Blvd.
Suite B
Watsonville, CA

For hearing impaired clients: Dial 711 or send us an email