CHA News

DHCS Releases Guidance Related to Authorization of Specialty Mental Health Services

For CEOs, CFOs, Government Relations Executives, Behavioral Health Leads

This post has been archived and contains information that may be out of date.

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) recently released Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services Information Notice 19-026 to communicate to county mental health plans (MHPs) federal requirements related to the authorization of specialty mental health services (SMHS).

The notice includes policy changes DHCS has made to ensure compliance with the Parity in Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services final rule, and covers requirements applicable to:

  • Authorization of all SMHS
  • Concurrent review for psychiatric inpatient hospital and psychiatric health facility services
  • Emergency admission requirements
  • Authorization of administrative days
  • Concurrent review of crisis residential treatment services and adult residential treatment services
  • Prior authorization of MHP referral for outpatient SMHS
  • Outpatient authorization time frame and documentation requirements
  • Retrospective authorization requirements
  • Utilization review
  • DHCS’ ongoing monitoring requirements

CHA provided comments to DHCS on its draft information notice, informed by feedback from its Center for Behavioral Health.