Specialized Information and Referral

Specialized Information and Referral


The department is responsible for developing a comprehensive mental health service system for the people of all ages in Los Angeles County. Priority for service is given to people eligible for public benefits who are severely and/or chronically mentally ill and who cannot obtain care through the private sector. There are no geographic restrictions.

The administrative office provides centralized intake, community mental health education, Medi-Cal prior authorization, specialized information and referral, technical assistance. It administers the County's managed care mental health plan for Medi-Cal recipients, and receives mental health facility complaints through an in-house representative of the Department of Consumer Affairs. Direct client services are provided through directly-operated Department of Mental Health clinics and by private contractors.

The department operates an on-site Peer Resource Center which provides mental health drop in services for people of all ages. Staff and peer volunteers provide information and link individuals to services including health and mental health services; food, clothing and hygiene supplies; transportation; temporary shelter or housing services; assistance with public benefits; legal services; education and job training; and volunteer and employment opportunities.

The department provides centralized intake and specialized information and referral for mental health services. It provides community mental health education through publications and speakers and mental health-related technical assistance for community organizations, and public and private agencies.

The School Threat Assessment Response Team (START) program provides training and program consultation, early screening and identification, assessment, intervention and case management and monitoring for school districts and parent groups. The program is designed to improve understanding about the behaviors and characteristics of school shooters, as well as situational awareness to improve campus safety. START collaborates with law enforcement to assess and response to threats of violence. Program staff may also provide post-intervention services including case management, linkage and follow-up.

The Medi-Cal Inpatient Consolidation Program (formerly called the TAR Program) is for Medi-Cal provider hospitals that contract with the department.

The department administers the county's managed care program for Medi-Cal recipients. Services include inpatient and outpatient specialty mental health services. This office accepts complaints from beneficiaries; enrolls and issues credentials to providers who wish to participate in the plan; and oversees a network of local programs that provide intake and referral.

The services provided by the department's Access Line include crisis intervention and referral to DMH programs for case management, diagnosis, inpatient and outpatient treatment, involuntary hospitalization, medication management, mobile psychiatric emergency teams (PMRT), psychiatric evaluation, socialization programs, independent living skills training, and assistance with community placement.

Access Line staff also handle after-hours calls to the Patients' Rights Line. Specialized services are available for homeless chronically-mentally ill; Spanish-speaking, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian people; and for youth. The department also administers the Patient's Rights Advocate program and the Public Guardian program. For information about specific types of services or those available in a certain geographical area see the separate program entries.

Through their Emergency Outreach Bureau the department also provides post disaster crisis counseling. It responds to the psychological needs of first responders and their families, victims and their families, the community at large. APPLICATION PROCEDURE Call or walk into the Peer Resource Center for assistance.

The Access Line operates 24 hours, seven days a week, including all holidays. Managed care clients are enrolled by providers when they apply for service.

Email START@dmh.lacounty.gov for information or to apply for the START program. FEES/PAYMENT SOURCE There are no fees for community education, information and referral or for the START program; see separate entries for direct service fees.
Application Procedure
All Languages Through Interpreter
American Sign Language


550 S. Vermont Ave., 11th Fl.

Los Angeles , CA 90020 (Physical)

Get directions
Service hours
Telephone intake and specialized information and referral is available Monday through Sunday, 24 hours per day.


(213) 427-6164 (Medi-Cal Inpatient Consolidation Program (MIC)) (213) 487-7483 (Medi-Cal Inpatient Consolidation (MIC))


(213) 251-6854 (Education & Training Division)


(213) 738-2466 (Managed Care Division) (213) 738-6151 (Managed Care Division, Compliance Unit) (213) 738-3311 (Medi-Cal Prof. Svcs - Provider Relations) (213) 738-2524 (Patients Rights) (213) 738-3700 (Public Information Officer) (213) 738-4775 (Human Resources Bureau) (213) 738-4603 (Office of the Medical Director)


(800) 854-7771 (24/7 Access Hotline)

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