LGBT Provider Networks

With the advent of managed care panels, individual providers (e.g., physicians, nurse assistants, social workers, and psychologists) may join those panels to satisfy contractual specifications negotiated with private or public purchasers. In addition, many MCOs allow practicing groups to join. Thus, different specialty networks have formed, which then collectively apply to the different MCOs in the area for enrollment in the MCO panels. Some providers affiliated with LGBT clinics have created networks that provide either MCOs or managed care panels with a cadre of providers with expertise in the treatment needs of LGBT individuals.

A variety of LGBT provider networks have formed throughout the United States. The networks are at varying levels of sophistication in developing relationships with MCOs. Examples of these provider networks are noted below.

• The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Psychotherapist Association of the Greater San Francisco Bay Area is a nonprofit group of more than 175 LGBT psychotherapists covering the Bay area in California. GAYLESTA, as it is called, has developed a referral service, educational programs, peer consultation groups, a speakers’ bureau, a newsletter, and a pre-licensed psychotherapist committee. GAYLESTA has also prepared a referral directory that is available to the public.

• The Lesbian Health and Wellness Network is a 150-member provider network based in Washington, D.C., but with members in some States. In addition to the creation of a provider manual and a referral system, this network is actively involved in providing LGBT-competency training for mainstream providers.

• The Los Angeles Lambda Medical Group is a medical center connected to the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Community Center that provides primary and preventive health care by physicians who specialize in the health care needs of lesbians and gay men.

• The Lambda Center and Therapist Network is an LGBT-specific continuum of inpatient and outpatient mental health and addictions services in Washington, D.C., that was begun by the Whitman-Walker Clinic and The Psychiatric Institute of Washington (a psychiatric hospital). The formation of a far-reaching provider network in the Baltimore-Washington area has recently been formalized.

• Fenway Behavioral Health Services in Boston is a program for gay men diagnosed with mental health and addiction problems, based in the Fenway Gay/Lesbian Community Center. Referrals are made to a network of therapists.

Substance abuse treatment programs have many potential allies. Identifying and working with these allies is extremely important, particularly in building community support for LGBT services and in successfully navigating the managed care environment.