December 22, 2006

Behavioral Health Clients to Benefit From New Managed Care Provider

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumers of the HealthChoices Behavioral Health program in 23 counties will soon receive benefits from a new managed care provider, Pennsylvania Secretary of Public Welfare Estelle B. Richman announced today.

Starting Jan. 1, HealthChoices will be administered in those counties by Community Care Behavioral Health Organization (CCBHO), which is owned by University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

The award to CCBHO was made following a competitive bid procurement process. This decision, according to Richman, is part of a statewide effort to address increased consumer demand for health care services in the face of rising costs.

"We must serve the needs of as many of our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians as possible, while managing available health care benefits," said Richman. "Health care consumers are faced with challenges, but we are dedicated to managing our health care resources better and more efficiently through programs like those offered by CCBHO.

"We are confident that our HealthChoices clients will receive excellent service and that taxpayers will get excellent value."

The HealthChoices Behavioral Health program provides the mental health and drug and alcohol services for recipients of Pennsylvania Medical Assistance under a 1915(b) federal waiver for mandatory managed behavioral health care. Examples of these services include mental health inpatient psychiatric hospital, partial hospitalization, outpatient services, residential treatment facilities, behavioral health rehabilitation services, crisis, drug and alcohol halfway houses, drug and alcohol rehabilitation and drug and alcohol outpatient and inpatient.

Counties covered in the plan are: Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Columbia, Elk, Forest, Huntington, Jefferson, McKean, Juniata, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Warren, and Wayne.

HealthChoices serves more than 158,000 clients in these 23 counties, which will be known as the North/Central State Option zone.

CCBHO currently provides service to Allegheny, Adams, Berks, York, Chester, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Lackawanna and Luzerne counties.

The Department of Public Welfare helps people meet their basic needs by providing health care and other critical support services for children, the elderly, people with chronic diseases, persons with disabilities and low- income families and adults in Pennsylvania. DPW is dedicated to promoting, improving, and sustaining the quality of family life; and breaking the cycle of dependency while protecting and serving Pennsylvania's most vulnerable citizens. Visit DPW on the Internet at:

CONTACT: Rita Frealing-Shultz or Ed Novak, Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, +1-717-787-4592.

Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare

CONTACT: Rita Frealing-Shultz or Ed Novak, Pennsylvania Department ofPublic Welfare, +1-717-787-4592

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