Magellan Behavioral Health of Pennsylvania (Magellan) welcomes you as a “member” in HealthChoices and to Magellan! You may never have behavioral health or substance use concerns. However, it is your right to know what services are available to you. In Pennsylvania, Magellan works with county partners in Bucks, Cambria, Lehigh, Montgomery, and Northampton counties. As a Behavioral Health-Managed Care Organization (BH-MCO), Magellan manages your benefits in coordination with network providers. This makes it easier for you to get help for your mental health and drug or alcohol concerns.
We encourage you to make the best use of your HealthChoices plan. Your member handbook includes details about what’s included in your benefits and how we can help you:
PA Member Handbook (English)
Spanish Version of PA Member Handbook (Espanol)
Note: The member handbooks are available in paper form without charge, upon request.
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Magellan’s Member Newsletter is a helpful resource for members. You will find educational content, county-specific contact information, special announcements, and more in each edition. We encourage you to share these newsletters with friends and family members. Check back as a new issue of our newsletter is released each quarter.
March 10, 2023: Members must renew Medical Assistance eligibility at the renewal date.
You are required to renew your Medical Assistance eligibility at your renewal date. Your action is needed.
- Go here to see what to expect from communications from DHS.
- Make sure your contact information is up to date.
- Determine your renewal date.
- Check your mail.
- Complete and return your renewal packet on time.
July 18, 2022: 988, the new Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, has launched
The new 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline launched nationwide on Saturday, July 16, 2022. 988 provides a direct connection to trained, community-based crisis counselors for anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide, a mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need these types of crises supports.
The 988-dialing code is available for call (in multiple languages), text (in English only), or chat (in English only through the Lifeline’s website, SuicidePrevetionLifeline.org/Chat). It is confidential, free, and available 24/7/365 through every landline, cell phone, and voice-over internet device in the U.S.
988 services are distinct and separate from the emergency medical and public safety response associated with 911, where the focus is on dispatching Emergency Medical Services, fire and police, as needed.
- For more information on 988, visit: https://www.samhsa.gov/988
- For suicide prevention information and resources, visit: https://www.magellanhealthcare.com/prevent-suicide
May 27, 2022: Information about Public Health Emergency (PHE) and Medical Assistance (MA)
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) recently announced that they are preparing for the eventual end of the federal COVID-19 PHE declaration. When the federal PHE ends, DHS must reach out to see if people are still eligible for MA. MA recipients will have to complete a renewal to maintain their MA coverage as long as they are eligible. Currently, there is no specific date for the end of the PHE. To stay up to date and receive current information, go to dhs.pa.gov/phe. Additional member recommendations from DHS include:
County Crisis Lines
- 1-800-499-7455 in Bucks County
- 1-877-268-9463 in Cambria County
- 610-782-3127 in Lehigh County
- 1-855-634-HOPE (4673) in Montgomery County
- 610-252-9060 in Northampton County
Call Magellan Toll-free
- 1-877-769-9784 in Bucks County
- 1-800-424-0485 in Cambria County
- 1-866-238-2311 in Lehigh County
- 1-877-769-9782 in Montgomery County
- 1-866-238-2312 in Northampton County
- TTY (All counties) – PA Relay 7-1-1
We are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your calls. Call us at any time when you have questions about your mental health, substance use, or co-occurring services. If you speak a language other than English, Magellan has staff and providers who speak other languages other than English who can help you. We can also assist you with interpreter services. Many of our providers, as well as their staff, can also assist you with interpreter services.
The Magellan Provider Network
When you call us, our Member Services Department will give you addresses and telephone numbers for providers that are located in your area and can best help you with your specific needs. We can help you to choose a provider close to where you live.
You can also refer to a complete listing of our providers including those who speak languages other than English. Magellan will make every effort to honor your request for a specific network provider. However, this may not always be possible. Some of the reasons we may not be able to offer you an appointment with your first choice provider include:
- The provider you chose does not specialize in the area of assistance you need.
- The provider you chose may not be accepting new members or may not have appointments available.
- The provider you chose may not feel they are the most appropriate provider to best help you with your particular needs.
- Providers may leave our network and new providers join our network. You may want to call Magellan to check if a particular provider is currently in our network. We can also tell you if the provider is currently accepting new members.
We will let you know if your provider leaves our network. You can continue to receive covered services from that provider for 60 days from the date we notify you. There may be times when you feel you need to see a provider who is not in our network. If we do not have a provider within our network who is qualified to handle your particular needs, it may be possible for Magellan to arrange an out-of-network provider for you. All out-of-network providers must have prior authorization by Magellan before you can see them in order for your visit to be covered. Please call Members Services if you feel you need to see an out-of-network provider.
You have the right to ask for a second opinion if you are not sure about any medical treatment or service that is suggested for you. A second opinion may give you more information that can help you make important decisions about your treatment. A second opinion is available to you at no cost.
Call Member Services at Magellan to ask for the name of another Magellan network provider to get a second opinion. If there are not any other providers in Magellan’s network, you may ask Magellan for approval to get a second opinion from an out-of-network provider.
Our provider offices are able to help you even if you have a physical disability, such as a problem walking, or trouble seeing or hearing. Please call us if you need to make sure a provider’s office is wheelchair accessible or for any other special needs you might have.
If You Have Other Insurance
- Magellan/HealthChoices is the last payer of your bill when you have other insurance. That means, if you have Medicare or commercial insurance (such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield), you must use that coverage first. That means you must go to a provider who accepts your other insurance.
- If your other insurance is Medicare, you must use Medicare first, unless Medicare does not cover the service you need.
- If you get services from a provider who accepts both your Medicare coverage and Magellan/HealthChoices, show both of your cards so the provider may submit the claim to Medicare and, if necessary, to Magellan/HealthChoices.
- If your other insurance is a commercial health plan, you must use that plan first, unless your plan does not cover the service you need.
- If you get services from a provider who accepts both your commercial plan and Magellan/HealthChoices, show both of your cards so the provider may submit the claim to the commercial plan and, if necessary, to Magellan/HealthChoices.
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You may view the Department’s Notice of Privacy Practices at www.dhs.pa.gov/providers/Providers/Documents/MA/s_001608.pdf
In some cases, your County may have their own Notices of Privacy Practices.
To find this information, please see the websites listed below.
• For Bucks County HealthChoices Members, you may view the Bucks County Division of Human Services HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices at www.buckscounty.gov/HIPAA
• The Northampton County Notice of Privacy Practices can be found here:
Magellan Behavioral Health of Pennsylvania has many providers in our network. All of the providers have a certain level of education and training. As an organization, Magellan does not reward practitioners or other individuals for issuing denials of coverage or services. Also, there are no financial incentives for decision makers to encourage decisions that result in underutilization.
All of the providers follow general guidelines for treating individuals and families, and their decision making is based only on appropriateness of care and service, and the existence of coverage. They also follow guidelines developed by Magellan that apply to their level of expertise. Some of our providers have training in more than one of these areas. The following is a listing of different types of behavioral health providers:
Licensed Social Worker
A Licensed Social Worker has a master’s or doctoral degree in social work (M.S.W., M.S., M.S.S.W., M.A. or A.M. in social work) from an accredited education program, and has taken their state’s licensing exam.
A Clinical Social Worker has an advanced certification. L.C.S.W. (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) after a person’s name means that the person is licensed by the state where they offer services.
Clinical social workers may have advanced credentials. The Board Certified Diplomat (B.C.D) or the Diplomate in Clinical Social Work (D.C.S.W.) are the two nationally recognized advance credentials in Clinical Social Work.
Licensed social workers are highly trained therapists who assess, diagnose, and treat mental and emotional conditions and addictions. Treatment methods include individual, marital, couple, family and group counseling and psychotherapy.
Social workers are educated and trained to consider the situation in which their clients live and work. They also pay attention to the ways in which cultural influences affect individuals and families.
A social worker cannot prescribe medicines or admit people to a hospital.
Licensed Professional Counselor (L.P.C.)
A professional counselor has a master’s, doctoral, or post-doctoral degree in psychology or counseling.
The letters L.P.C. (Licensed Professional Counselor), L.C.P.C (Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor), or L.M.H.C. (Licensed Mental Health Counselor) indicate that a person is licensed to provide professional counseling by the state.
Professional counselors are trained to provide mental health counseling to individuals, couples, families, and children, including diagnosis, testing, and assessment; psychotherapy; group counseling; and lifestyle and career counseling.
Professional counselors consider the situation in which their clients live and work, and view clients through a wellness model.
A professional counselor can not prescribe medicines or admit a person to a hospital.
Marriage and Family Therapy (L.M.F.T)
Marriage and family therapists have graduate training (master’s, doctoral, or post-doctoral) in marriage and family therapy with additional clinical experience.
The letters M.F.T. (Marriage and Family Therapist), L.M.F.T. (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist), L.C.M.F.T. (Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist), or L.I.M.F.T. (Licensed Independent Marriage and Family Therapist) after a name indicate that the person is licensed to provide marriage and family therapy by the state.
Marriage and family therapists are trained in psychotherapy and family systems, and treat a wide range of problems, including depression, marital problems, anxiety, individual psychological problems, and child-parent problems.
Marriage and family therapists attend to the nature and role of individuals in primary relationship networks, such as marriage and the family, and are concerned with the long-term well-being of individuals and their families.
Marriage and family therapists cannot prescribe medicines or admit people to a hospital.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor or physician who has completed medical school and a multi-year residency in psychiatry (treatment of mental illness).
Psychiatrists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses. As physicians, they are also experts in the use of medications to treat mental disorders as well as treating these conditions with an understanding of the interplay with other medical disorders. As medical experts they also understand how different medications affect each other.
They are able to assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological disturbances.
A psychiatrist uses many forms of therapy to help patients change behaviors or thought patterns, explore the effects of past relationships and experiences on present behaviors to treat troubled relationships. Since psychiatrists are medical doctors, they are able to determine the need for medical tests and medication to help adjust imbalances in body chemistry that may be part of the mental illness.
There are several sub-specialties, such as child and adolescent psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, and forensic psychiatry.
A psychiatrist’s medical training allows greater ability to talk with other medical specialists.
A psychologist is an individual who has completed a doctoral-level degree (about five years of graduate school resulting in the Ph.D. or Psy.D. degrees)
Psychologists will have a doctoral degree from an academic or professional college and generally can not prescribe medication.
The term psychologist is legally protected and only licensed individuals can use the term. Psychology is a very diverse discipline; some psychologists are scientist-researchers, some are therapists and some become administrators. Those that specialize in therapy are called clinical psychologists.
Psychologists are extensively trained therapists. They have received training in the diagnosis treatment and research of human behavior. They are also skilled in testing and other problems in mental functioning.
This is a doctoral level degree generally requiring extended graduate level university training (4-6 years after completing regular college B.A./B.S. programs).
Clinical psychologists will often have this degree, although the Ph.D. can be issued in many different fields and is not limited to psychology (e.g., a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, an Ed.D. in Education).
Ph.D. means, “Doctor of Philosophy.”
This is a doctoral level degree generally requiring extended graduate level university training (3-4 years after completing regular college B.A./B.S. programs).
Psy.D. means “Doctor of Psychology.” Some clinical psychologists have this degree.
Below are some tips to help you get ready for your first visit with a therapist. You are more likely to get the help you want and feel more at ease if you know what to expect during your visit.
Think of the therapist as a resource
Some people may feel uncomfortable about seeing a therapist. But almost everyone is faced at some time with challenges that are hard to fix alone.
Having a behavioral health diagnosis or situation is OK. It does not mean you are having a nervous breakdown. And it does not mean you are a failure. Getting help with a behavioral health diagnosis is a smart step. It is a sign of personal strength.
All services are provided in strict confidence. This means the information that you share with your therapist is not shared with others unless you sign a release form. Or, if the law says the information has to be shared.
How counseling sessions can help
The therapist will help you:
- Figure out what the diagnosis is.
- Create an action plan. This will include steps to address the diagnosis.
- Handle a crisis. Help you sort through your options.
- Many situations can be resolved in just a few sessions.
- Start a treatment process. The therapist can also help you resolve tougher issues that need longer treatment.
What to bring to the first session
- A list of questions. Write down your questions and bring the list with you. Sometimes it’s hard to remember all the issues. Writing them down can help.
- Bring anything that will help you tell the therapist about your situation. This can include notes, documents or records.
- Medicines. Bring all medicines you are taking. Bring them with the pharmacy label if possible. It will help your therapist provide a better evaluation.
- Significant others. Consider bringing family members or others to the first session if it will help you.
Understand the session process
- Environment. A therapist’s office is usually designed for private conversations. It should be comfortable and quiet.
- Assessment. You will be asked to fill out some forms. The therapist will ask you some questions to better understand your concerns. He or she will talk with you about your options.
- Referrals. The therapist may send you to a specialist or another clinician.
What to expect when you call your therapist
- We want it to be as easy as possible for you to get the care you need. Calling a therapist may mean leaving a message and waiting for him or her to return your call.
- Therapists see members during business hours. They may not be able to answer their phone when you call. Leave a message and wait for a return call within 24 hours.
- The therapist may give you instructions on their voicemail message. They may ask you to leave a cell phone number. They may tell you what to do if your call is an emergency. Please contact Magellan if the therapist does not return your call.
Consent to Release Protected Health Information (PHI) – All Counties – (Online Submission)
Consent to Release Protected Health Information (PHI) – All Counties – (Fillable Form)
Consentimiento para divulgar Infomacion de Salud Protegida (PHI, por sus siglas en ingles) – (Formulario rellenable)
To receive member newsletters electronically, send an email to MBHofPA@magellanhealth.com.
Member Newsletters 2023
Boletin para el miembro: Ayude a prevenir el suicidio – Verano 2023
Boletin para el miembro: La depresion perinatal es una afeccion frecuente – Primavera 2023
Boletin para el miembro: Conozca los riesgos de la marihuana – Invierno 2023
Member Newsletters 2022
Member Newsletter: Find help with food resources – Fall 2022
Member Newsletter: July is BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month – Summer 2022
Member Newsletter: Stress awareness can help you get through challenges – Spring 2022
Member Newsletter: An Overview of Community Support Programs and Member Focused Agencies – Winter 2022
Boletin para el miembro: Cómo encontrar ayuda con los recursos alimentarios – Otono 2022
Boletin para el miembro: Julio es el Mes de Concientizacio sobre la Salud Mental de BIPOC – Verano 2022
Boletin para el miembro: La concientizacion sobre al estres puede ayudarlo a supercar los desafios – Primavera 2022
Boletin para el miembro: Una Vision General de los Programas de Apoyo a la Comunidad y Agencias Enfocadas a los Miembros – Invierno 2022
Member Newsletters 2021
Member Newsletter: Telehealth Services Update – Fall 2021
Member Newsletter: Older Adults Need to Create Intergenerational Connections – Summer 2021
Member Newsletter: Young Adults: It’s Okay to Ask for Help – Spring 2021
Boletin para el miembro: Actualizacion de Servicios de Telesalud – Otono 2021
Boletin para el miembro: Los Adultos Mayores Necesitan Crear Conexiones Intergeneracionales – Verano 2021
Boletin para el miembro: Adultos jovenes: Esta Bien pedir ayuda – Primavera 2021
Member Newsletters 2020
Member Newsletter: Virtual Benefits for Certified Peer Support (CPS) and Certified Recovery Support (CRS) – Winter 2020
Member Newsletter: Wellness and Self-Care Tips During COVID-19 – Fall 2020
Member Newsletter: Helpful Resources for Families During COVID-19 – Summer 2020
Member Newsletter: Vaping/E-cigarette Use is Dangerous for Youth and Many Adults – Spring 2020
Boletin para el miembro: Beneficios virtuales para el apoyo de pares certificado (CPS) y el apoyo de recuperacion certificado (CRS) – Invierno 2020
Boletin para el miembro: Consejos de bienestar y cuidado personal durante la COVID-19 – Otono 2020
Boletin para el miembro: Recursos utiles para las familias durante el COVID-19 – Verano 2020
Boletin para el miembro: El uso de vapeo/e-cigarrilloes peligroso para los jovenes y muchos adultos – Primavera 2020
Member Newsletters 2019
Member Newsletter: Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) Starts in January – Winter 2019
Member Newsletter: Crisis Teams are Available For You – Fall 2019
Member Newsletter: Searching for Specialty Providers On Our Website – Summer 2019
Member Newsletter: Social Determinants of Health Resources Are Available – Spring 2019
Boletin para el miembro: A partir de enero, comienzan los servicios intensivos de salud conductual (IBHS) – Invierno 2019
Boletin para el miembro: Los equipos de crisis estan disponibles para usted – Otono 2019
Boletin para el miembro: Como buscar proveedores de especialidades en nuestro sitio web – Verano 2019
Boletin para el miembro: Hay disponibles determinantes sociales de recursos de salud – Primavera 2019
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Magellan recognizes the importance of self-management tools for improved individual health. These tools include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Avoid at-risk drinking
- BMI maintenance
- Healthy eating
- Identify psychiatric symptoms through self-assessment
- Managing stress
- Physical activity on a regular basis
- Stop smoking & tobacco use
- Recovery & resiliency
- Treatment monitoring
To learn about our whole health approach, we encourage you to visit here.
Also, you can learn about any health topic and use interactive tools such as calculators, quizzes, and questionnaires at Healthwise.