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COVID-19 vaccination prioritization has been determined at the state level by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). While behavioral health providers were initially proposed to be in phase II, recent advocacy efforts were successful in raising this prioritization to Phase I. Prioritization for vaccination for health care providers, including psychologists, is determined based on work setting and risk level of patient contact and not just professional credential. Psychologists that work in settings identified as higher risk (such as inpatient psychiatric settings or residential Substance Abuse treatment settings) will be higher in priority phase/tier for the vaccine (Phase 1a-Tier 1) than those who work in outpatient settings. Psychologists who provide ambulatory outpatient services are in Phase 1a-Tier 2. This group includes Outpatient mental health providers, Outpatient Substance Use Disorder providers, as well as Primary Care medical providers. It is significant to note that this is the next highest level after providers who work in acute hospitals and congregate treatment and living settings.

While vaccine prioritization is set at the state level, vaccine distribution is organized and administered at the level of the local county public health department. As such, there will likely be differences in the way LAC-DPH administers this process than other counties elect to do so. Currently, LA County is prioritizing health care workers, including psychologists, who are providing in-person clinical services. Additionally, while administrative staff were initially excluded, a very recent change was made to include administrative staff who support in-person patient care services in this prioritization.

Health care providers who are providing 100% telehealth services are NOT included in the current prioritization Phase/Tiers

LA County is currently administering vaccinations for multiple tiers simultaneously. As such, psychologists who are located in Los Angeles County and providing in-person clinical services are eligible for vaccination if they work in one of these settings in L.A. County: (BOLD included for employment settings most likely to include psychologists)

  • Acute Psychiatric Hospital
  • Federally Qualified Health Clinic
  • Home healthcare organization/home health agency (in-home supportive service personnel)
  • Intermediate Care Facility
  • Infusion/Oncology Center
  • Residential and Inpatient Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Treatment
  • Residential and Inpatient Mental Health Facility
  • Urgent Care Clinic
  • Primary care clinic, rural health center, or correctional facility clinic
  • Outpatient substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, mental health facility, or crisis stabilization unit
  • Medical shelter
  • Sheltered and unsheltered setting providing direct clinical care for people experiencing homelessness
  • DCFS Residential Congregate Youth Facility – STRTP, TCSF, or CTF

Lastly, please know that this is a very fluid situation, with some requirements, procedures and prioritization changing rapidly. As such, while the following is the current guidance at the time of this message, it is subject to modification without prior notice.

Information on prioritization and making an appointment for vaccination through LA County-Department of Public Health:

 

  • You will be required to show proof of employment and status as a healthcare worker by bringing one of the following 4 sets of documents listed below to your appointment in order to be vaccinated:
  1. Healthcare Worker (HCW) employee badge with photo
    OR
  2. Professional license AND a photo ID
    OR
  3. Signed letter from employer on facility letterhead AND a photo ID
    OR
  4. Payment stub from healthcare provider with your name AND a photo ID

 

NOTE: The Cities of Pasadena and Long Beach have their own health departments. As such, these agencies have secured additional dosages of the COVID-19 vaccines for persons who work in their jurisdictions and have different criteria and procedures for accessing the vaccine from their agencies. Psychologists who work in these cities may also be able to access the COVID-19 vaccine from these local health departments. They will also have their own procedures for confirming your status as a health care worker. : 

  • For Info on how to Register for a vaccination appointment with the Pasadena Health Department, see: https://www.cityofpasadena.net/public-health/covid-19-vaccine/#healthcare-workers
  • For Info on how to Register for a vaccination appointment with the Long Beach Health Department, you need to do the following:
    •  Send an email to [email protected] .
    • They will send you an email requesting information about you and your practice setting and provide additional information on how to acquire your vaccination.

I hope this helps you to navigate the process for accessing your COVID-19 vaccination.

Sincerely,

David W. Hindman Ph.D.
Chief, Clinical Standards & Training (CST) Unit

Project Manager, Sage EHR System

 

Member at Large, Board of Directors

California Psychological Association

 

Substance Abuse Prevention and Control (SAPC)
County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Health
1000 S. Fremont Ave; Bldg A-9 West, 4th Floor
Alhambra, CA 91803
Office: 626-299-3553

Direct: 626-299-3549 (office)

Email: [email protected]