When a patient needs behavioral health care, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan may need to approve it first. Keep in mind that authorization is just a clinical review approval, not a guarantee of payment. You'll still need to verify the necessary coverage for this medical benefit.
For both Blue Cross commercial and Medicare Plus BlueSM members
The documents linked here apply to both Blue Cross commercial and Medicare Plus Blue members.
- Telemedicine (PDF) medical policy.
- Outpatient detoxification and follow-up care protocols for treating substance use disorders (PDF)
- Holiday closures: How to submit authorization requests for inpatient admissions (PDF)
- Behavioral health: For mental health and substance use disorders (PDF) - Includes information about care management and utilization management programs
- Behavioral health screening tools
For behavioral health medical record documentation requirements for outpatient services:
- Documentation requirements for applied behavior analysis services (PDF)
- Documentation requirements and privacy regulations for services other than ABA (PDF)
- Behavioral health resources to discuss with your patients (PDF) – For primary care providers
- Depression tip sheet (PDF) – For primary care providers
- HEDIS tip sheet for antidepressant medical management (PDF) – For behavioral health providers
- Spravato®: Purchasing and billing information (PDF)
- Depression office flyer (PDF)
- Depression brochure for members (PDF)
See below for additional resources that apply either to Blue Cross commercial or to Medicare Plus Blue members.
For Blue Cross commercial members
Most, but not all, Blue Cross commercial members have their behavioral health coverage managed by New Directions.
To determine whether a group's or member's benefits are managed by New Directions or by another organization, contact a behavioral health care manager using the toll-free number on the back of the member's ID card. You can also refer to the Blue Pages Directory chapter of the Blue Cross Commercial Provider Manual for complete contact information.
Through the New Directions WebPass tool, you can request initial and concurrent reviews for inpatient, residential, partial hospital, applied behavior analysis and transcranial magnetic stimulation services, and you can check the status of these requests.
You can access the WebPass tool:
- Through our provider portal:
- Log in to our provider portal (availity.com*).
- Click Payer Spaces on the menu bar and then click the BCBSM and BCN logo.
- Click the New Directions Provider Portal tile on the Applications tab.
You can also contact New Directions by calling 1-800-762-2382.
For additional information about behavioral health services, refer to the Blue Cross Commercial Provider Manual. For information on accessing this and our other provider manuals, see the Provider Manuals page on bcbsm.com.
- LLPs and LMFTs — Frequently asked questions (PDF)
- Requirements for providing behavioral health services to Blue Cross commercial members (PDF)
- Crisis program requirements for behavioral health services (PDF)
- For local rules on autism spectrum disorder / applied behavior analysis, see the Blue Cross Autism webpage.
For Medicare Plus Blue members
The following behavioral health services for Medicare Plus Blue members require authorization through the e-referral system:
- Initial admission of inpatient, partial hospital and intensive outpatient treatment for members who have been admitted to inpatient care or to a treatment program
- Extensions of inpatient, partial hospital, intensive outpatient treatment
Outpatient behavioral health services for Medicare Plus Blue members do not require authorization.
Here are some resources to assist you in managing behavioral health services:
- Assistance in using the e-referral system
- Behavioral Health e-referral User Guide (PDF)
- Submitting authorization requests: Frequently asked questions for behavior health providers, for Medicare Plus Blue (PDF)
- Behavioral Health Discharge Summary (PDF) - Attach this to the case in the e-referral system.
- Utilization management criteria
- InterQual®. Medicare Plus Blue uses Change Healthcare's InterQual Behavioral Health Criteria as utilization management guidelines subject to the modifications posted below. To request a copy of the specific InterQual criteria used to make a decision on a member's case, call Medicare Plus Blue Behavioral Health at 1-888-803-4960.
- Modifications of InterQual criteria starting Aug. 1, 2022. Medicare Plus Blue uses these modifications of InterQual criteria for decisions about mental health disorders (partial hospital program) (PDF)
- Modifications of InterQual criteria starting Aug. 2, 2021, through July 31, 2022. Medicare Plus Blue uses these modifications of InterQual criteria for decisions about substance use disorders (partial hospital program and intensive outpatient program) (PDF) and mental health disorders (partial hospital program and intensive outpatient program) (PDF).
- Medicare Plus Blue Provider Manual (PDF) — In the "Utilization management" section, look for the subsection titled "Preauthorization of behavioral health services."
You can call Medicare Plus Blue Behavioral Health at 1-888-803-4960 for general assistance with behavioral health services, including:
- Arranging services or requesting authorization for services
- Obtaining criteria used to make an authorization decision
*Clicking this link means that you're leaving the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network website. While we recommend this site, we're not responsible for its content.