Behavioral Health Access Center
As part of the Department of Public Health, Behavioral Health Access Center provide a range of mental health services to the homeless population. BHAC includes the Behavioral Health Access Center (BHAC) includes the Treatment Access Program (TAP), the Offender Treatment Program (OTP) and Central Mental Health Access (MHA) Units. In providing mental health services, BHACs also serve as a gateway for Medi-Cal enrollment.
Which Services are Offered?
The San Francisco Behavioral Health Plan offers a full range of specialty Behavioral health services provided by a culturally diverse network of community Behavioral health programs, clinics and private psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists. Most people seeking behavioral health services need only basic counseling services. For those who are in need of more extensive treatment, the S.F. Behavioral Health Plan offers an array of services.
Behavioral Health Clinics accept walk-ins and treat patients regardless of their ability to pay. Currently, intake procedures vary between different locations. Clients can most directly access a provider if they have a referral.
There are thirty-six total BHACs in San Francisco. Twelve of these centers are managed by the city and are for moderate to severe mental health issues. The other twenty-four are managed by community based organizations (CBOs) and are focused on treating mild to moderate mental health issues.
- Amenities differ between locations.
- BHAC also offers a 24-hour call line. It is 415-255-3737, or 1-888-246-3333.
- Some BHACs offer a pharmacy on site. There may be a clinician on site who is able to write prescriptions.
Before Your Visit
- Always check to see if your client has Medi-Cal. You might also want to assess your clients current state of mind before proceeding to BHAC to determine the right location to bring your client.
- Many but not all BHACs offer walk in hours. You may want to call BHAC prior to your arrival to ensure that the location you are going to can accept your client.
- You may want to ask your client if she or he has visited a BHAC location before. BHAC does not always track intake of new clients across locations. If they have been to BHAC before, notify the clerk at check-in so they can attempt to find any previous information collected about this client.
Required Information and Documents
- Medi-Cal card (if your client is insured)
- Intake Documents: Behavioral health clinics require a wide variety of forms, sometimes over ten intake forms. These can vary between locations. You will always be required to complete a Personal Financial Inventory (PFI) and a Universal Method for Determining Ability to Pay (UMDAP) form.
- Processes you encounter at one location may differ from another BHAC.
- Wait times vary as triage is not based on a first come/first serve basis.
- Not all BHAC locations offer walk-in hours. Obtaining an appointment before arrival is the best way of ensuring seeing a clinician.
- You can save time by completing intake forms ahead of time. Download the forms from the clinic that your client will be visiting.
- Consider your client’s state of mind and be aware of paperwork that will be required during intake. Your assistance with forms may be needed during the intake process.
- If the clinic is closed, you may still wait in the waiting area until it opens.
- If your visit with your client is not an emergency, you first might want to evaluate whether or not your client qualifies for Medi-Cal. If she or he does it might be helpful to enroll your client prior to your visit to BHAC to avoid later billing and coverage issues.
During Your Visit
- A greeter will greet you upon arrival and direct you to the waiting area.
Upon entry proceed to the front desk to sign in and get your client’s intake forms. The amount forms can vary based on location.
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If your appointment is a walk-in, you may want to inquire as to what the estimated wait time is.
After forms are completed and returned to the clerk, the client will be asked to meet with the Officer of the Day. The OD will talk to your client to assess their current state of mind and overall mental health.
After meeting your client, the OD will set up an appointment with a clinician. Should you have a walk-in appointment, the wait time for your client may vary depending on how busy the clinic currently is.
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Even if your client has not yet enrolled in Medi-Cal, he or she will be able to receive care at BHAC if it is an emergency.
- If you get a follow up appointment and are parting ways with your client, please get your client’s contact information and appointment time. If you do not plan on returning You may want to contact your client prior to their appointment to ensure that they attend.
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There is a client facing portal where you can set up alerts for future appointments. In addition to your client’s phone number, adding your number to receive appointment alerts could ensure that your client makes it to their appointments.
After Your Visit
BHAC offers services to clients regardless of their ability to pay. If your client is not enrolled in Medi-Cal, they may still continue to receive treatment from BHAC. Follow up with your client to ensure they have begun the enrollment process at HSA. If they have not, you may want to contact them and see if they need assistance with HSA.