Medical Healthcare Services

Medical healthcare services

Expanding Access to Medi-Cal Services


Managed Care Division - Medi-Cal Mental Health Services

2019 Fresno County Implementation Plan Cover Letter(PDF, 826KB)

2019 Final Fresno Co Implementation Plan(PDF, 7MB)

Since 1995, the California Department Health Care services (formerly Department of Mental Health) has been expanding mental health services using the managed care model of service delivery. Each county behavioral health department is responsible for the provision of behavioral health services for Medi-Cal recipients in their county, either providing those services or using contracted providers. In Fresno County, the Managed Care Division of the Department of Behavioral Health has been designated to manage the behavioral health benefits of Fresno County's Medi-Cal beneficiaries. 

Before the introduction of Managed Care, Medi-Cal mental health services were administered through two programs — the state-run Fee-for-Service program and the county-run Short-Doyle program. The managed care approach consolidated these two programs with the intent of integrating services and better coordinating care. Yet it also provided a cost-containment strategy, allowing for increased access with the same level of funding. The development of this system assured consistent state-wide access to Individuals served receiving specialty mental health services.

Federal regulations require that Individuals served in managed care organizations have at least two organizations to choose from, but a waiver was secured from the federal government. Allowing county behavioral health departments to be the single managed care plan for mental health services was a natural outgrowth of the experience counties had in serving the mental health needs of their communities.

Each county Mental Health Plan contracts with the California Department of Health Care Services to provide behavioral health services to Medi-Cal beneficiaries in their county. 

Before behavioral health services can be provided, several criteria must be met:
The beneficiary must meet medical necessity criteria, a clearly identified set of diagnoses, functional impairments and intervention criteria.
The services must be delivered by or under the direction of a specialist in the mental health field — a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a nurse practitioner, a registered nurse, a licensed clinical social worker, a licensed professional clinical counselor or a licensed marriage and family therapist.


If you have a Behavioral Health emergency
please call 9-1-1

For Access to Services or the Crisis Line,
1 800 654-3937

 CalHOPE Warm Line
1 833 317-HOPE(4673)

Central Valley Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1 800 273-8255