Mental Health Services

Outpatient Mental Health Services

L.A. Care covers initial mental health assessments without needing pre-approval (prior authorization).
You can get a mental health assessment at any time from a licensed mental health provider in the L.A. Care network without a referral.

Your PCP or mental health provider might make a referral for more mental health screening to a specialist in the L.A. Care network to decide the level of care you need. If your mental health screening results find you are in mild or moderate distress or have impaired mental, emotional, or behavioral functioning, L.A. Care can provide mental health services for you.

L.A. Care covers mental health services such as:

  • Individual and group mental health evaluation and treatment (psychotherapy)
  • Psychological testing when clinically indicated to evaluate a mental health condition
  • Development of cognitive skills to improve attention, memory and problem solving
  • Outpatient services for the purposes of monitoring medicine therapy
  • Outpatient laboratory services
  • Outpatient medicines that are not already covered under the Medi-Cal Rx Contract Drug List, supplies and supplements
  • Psychiatric consultation
  • Family therapy which involves at least 2 family members. Examples of family therapy include, but are not
    limited to:
    • Child-parent psychotherapy (ages 0 through 5)
    • Parent child interactive therapy (ages 2 through 12)
    • Cognitive-behavioral couple therapy (adults)

For help finding more information on mental health services provided by L.A. Care, call Member Services at 1-888-839-9909 (TTY 711).

If treatment you need for a mental health disorder is not available in the L.A. Care network or your PCP or mental health provider cannot give the care you need in the time listed on the Timely Access to Care page, L.A. Care will cover and help you get out-of-network services.

If your mental health screening shows that you may have a higher level of impairment and need specialty mental health services (SMHS), your PCP or your mental health provider can refer you to the county mental health plan to get the care you need.

To learn more, visit the Specialty Mental Health Services page in this handbook.

Back to Medi-Cal Benefits Covered by L.A. Care