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States Respond to COVID-19: Calif. Equity Measure, Crisis Counseling Grants

In response to the devastating effects of COVID-19, the California Department of Health released a Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which includes an equity measure to ensure California reopens its economy safely by reducing disease transmission in all communities. Research and data show that low-income and minority communities have been hit harder by the virus.

To advance to a less restrictive tier in the reopening process, counties in California must meet an equity measure or demonstrate a plan to decrease disparities in COVID-19 transmissions. Counties with more than 106,000 residents must meet the equity measure, based on the California Health People Index and submit a plan for targeted investments in reducing the transmission disparities. Counties with fewer than 106,000 residents only have to submit the targeted investment plan.

FEMA Crisis Counseling Grants

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program (CCP) grants to more than 30 states. The CCP helps fund state-provided crisis counseling services to residents struggling with stress and anxiety as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Several states have shown innovation in their plans to disseminate the grant funding.


Arizona’s Health Care Cost Containment System, which oversees the state’s Medicaid program, received $532,804 to provide crisis counseling services to members of the general public who have been affected by the COVID-19 emergency, with specific focus on health care workers, youth, families, those ages 65 and older, and tribal communities.


The Vermont Department of Mental Health partnered with VT Care Partners, a statewide network of nonprofit community-based agencies providing an array of mental health services, to apply for a grant to assist individuals and communities with their mental well-being as they navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The organizations intend to use this grant to bolster existing mental health services and improve public awareness and education about how to manage stress to prevent more significant mental health distress.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the outbreak.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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