Mental Health Care

Accessing Mental Health Care

In North Carolina, a Managed Care Organization (MCO) is the institutional body that oversees the provision of behavioral and mental health care of Medicaid recipients. MCOs manage the regional care of Medicaid recipients who receive services for mental/behavioral health and/or intellectual and developmental disabilities. Here is the MCO map that shows which MCOs are responsible for which  regions of the state.  

Calling Your MCO

  1. Check the MCO/LME map to find the Managed Care Organization (MCO) for your county.  
  1. If you are having a Behavioral Health Crisis and need immediate care, call your MCO’s Crisis line:
    • Alliance: 877-223-4617
    • Partners: 833-353-2093
    • Trillium: 888-302-0738
    • Vaya: 800-849-6127 
  1. If you are seeking non-urgent mental health care, determine the following before calling your MCO’s Member Services Line: 
    • the type of insurance you have (if you know);
    • the type of mental health support you are seeking (psychiatrist to dispense medication, or psychologist/therapist/social worker for talk therapy, etc.);
    • a specific condition or mental health disorder that you are seeking care for (addiction, eating disorder, psychosis, depression, etc.); and/or a specific cohort that the therapist specializes in (youth, DV survivors, etc.) 
  1. Call the MCO to get a list of suggested agencies that could offer the type of mental health care that you are seeking. Be sure to mention all the above factors so that they find someone that meets your unique needs. The MCO should provide you with a list of agencies or therapists over the phone that meet your criteria.  
  1. Think about specifics important for you to have in a provider before you call the providers. Specifics like distance of the clinic from your house, specific type of therapy (intensive in-home, outpatient, virtual, etc.), race or gender of therapist, expertise in working with particular populations or diagnoses, etc. 
  1. Research and call the agencies and providers that the MCO has provided you with. Talk with people at the provider’s office to see if they meet your criteria, take your type of insurance, have openings and a next available appointment date that meets your needs, and to understand the process to start services.  

Connecting with your MCO’s Care Manager & Family Partner

Many Medicaid recipients have access to a Care Manager through their MCO. Care managers help recipients create a personalized care plan bas on their individual needs and support the integration of their physical, mental, and behavioral care.  Care Managers can be contacted to support the recipient in accessing any mental and behavioral health needs, and be available in situations where their care plan might need to change.  

Family Partners, also called Family Support Advocates, are hired by some MCOs to support families as they navigate behavioral, medical, healthcare, and other systems. If a child has Medicaid and is involved in multiple overlapping systems and the family needs support to manage the care of their child, these advocates are well-positioned to assist. They are knowledgeable about the resources available in each region they oversee.

  1. Call your MCO’s Member Services line and ask (1) who your Care Manager is and how to connect with them, (2) if the MCO has Family Partners available to recipients, and how to connect with them. You can also search this map to see if your MCO has a Family Partner or Systems of Care Coordinator.
    • Alliance: 800-510-9132
    • Partners: 888-235-4673
    • Trillium: 877-685-2415
    • Vaya: 800-962-9003 
  1. If you are having trouble finding out if you have a Care Manager and/or contacting them, you can always call the NC Medicaid Ombudsman (1-877-201-3750), and an advocate will help you connect you to them.  
  1. Contact your Care Manager and/or Family Partner to discuss your care needs and how you hope they can support you.