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Prior Authorization

Please note, failure to obtain authorization may result in administrative claim denials. California Health & Wellness providers are contractually prohibited from holding any member financially liable for any service administratively denied by California Health & Wellness for the failure of the provider to obtain timely authorization.

Check to see if a pre-authorization is necessary by using our online tool.

Expand the links below to find out more information.

As the Medical Home, PCPs should coordinate all healthcare services for California Health & Wellness members. Paper referrals are not required to direct a member to a specialist within our participating network of providers. All out of network services (excluding ER and family planning) require prior authorization. PCPs should track receipt of consult notes from the specialist provider and maintain these notes within the patient's medical record.

Some services require prior authorization from California Health & Wellness in order for reimbursement to be issued to the provider. See our Prior Authorization List, which will be posted soon, or use our Prior Authorization Prescreen tool.

Standard prior authorization requests should be submitted for medical necessity review at least five (5) business days before the scheduled service delivery date or as soon as the need for service is identified.

Authorization requests may be submitted by fax, phone or secure web portal and should include all necessary clinical information. Urgent requests for prior authorization should be called in as soon as the need is identified.

Medication prior authorization requests may be submitted by fax using the Prescription Drug Prior Authorization or Step Therapy Exception Request Form (No. 61-211) – English (PDF).

You may fax requests to:

Service Fax Number Download form
Inpatient Authorizations 1-866-724-5057 Inpatient Medicaid Prior Authorization Fax Form – English (PDF)
Outpatient Medical Services 1-866-724-5057 Outpatient Medicaid Prior Authorization Fax Form – English (PDF)
Concurrent Reviews – Clinicals 1-855-556-7910 No download available
Admissions / Face Sheets / Census Reports 1-855-556-7907 No download available
CBAS Treatment Requests 1-855-556-7909 CBAS Treatment Request Form – English (PDF)
Self-Administered Non-Specialty Medications 1-866-399-0929 Prescription Drug Prior Authorization or Step Therapy Exception Request Form – English (PDF)
Self-Administered Specialty Medications 1-855-217-0926 Prescription Drug Prior Authorization or Step Therapy Exception Request Form – English (PDF)
Physician-Administered Specialty Medications 1-877-259-6961 Prescription Drug Prior Authorization or Step Therapy Exception Request Form – English (PDF)

*Fax form coming soon

Or login to submit a prior authorization.

High Tech Imaging Services (CT, MRI, PET) are authorized by National Imaging Associates.

California Health & Wellness's Medical Management department hours of operation are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). After normal business hours, NurseWise staff is available to answer questions and intake requests for prior authorization.

  • Emergent services do not require prior authorization.
  • Urgent/emergent admissions require notification within one (1) business day following the admit date.
  • For post-stabilization care:
    • Participating facilities do not require prior authorization.
    • Non-participating facilities do require prior authorization and should contact the Hospital Notification Unit at 877-658-0305.

We will process most routine authorizations within five business days. If we need additional clinical information or the case needs to be reviewed by the Medical Director it may take up to 14 calendar days to be notified of the determination. Authorization determinations may be communicated to the provider by fax, phone, secure email, or secure web portal.

Prior Authorization List

Phone requests to: 877-658-0305

Fax requests to: 866-724-5057

To check if Prior Authorization is required for specific codes, go to our coding determination tool.

Service Prior Authorization - California
All inpatient hospitalizations Notification at least 5 business days prior to the scheduled date of admit

All hospitalizations to nonparticipating hospital once emergency stabilization is complete
All services other than well visits, preventive services, immunizations, emergency services, urgent care services, minor consent services (sexual assault, pregnancy care, family planning, sexually transmitted disease services), HIV testing, abortion For members under age 21
Ablative techniques for treating Barrett's esophagus, and for treatment of primary and metastatic liver malignancies  
Ambulance - non-emergency air transportation  
Bariatric surgery  
Bronchial thermoplasty  
Capsule endoscopy  
Cochlear implants  
Community Based Adult Services (CBAS) Prior authorization is required for greater than five visits per week

CBAS services with one to five visits per week require notification only

Fax authorization and notifications to 1-855-556-7909
Developmental screening Prior authorization required for ages 6–20 (effective November 11, 2020)
Durable medical equipment (DME) - including but not limited to:
  • Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) or continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
  • Bone growth stimulator
  • Custom-made items including orthotics
  • Hospital beds and mattresses
  • Items with a total Medi-Cal purchase price greater than $1,500
  • Oxygen
  • Power wheelchairs or scooters
  • Prosthetics
  • Ventilators
All DME for pediatric members requires prior authorization

Certain procedure codes; call or go to CHW website to determine if authorization is required
Emergency admissions (notification within 1 business day of admission)  
Enhanced care management (ECM)  
Enteral nutrition products  
Experimental or investigational treatments/services; clinical trials  
General anesthesia for dental services  
H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori) antibody testing  
Intensive outpatient cardiac rehabilitation (ICR) services ICR services must be provided within an ICR program approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Providers must include the following information when submitting a prior authorization request for ICR services:
  • CMS-approved program the member is participating in
  • Qualifying diagnosis
  • Treatment plan
  • Duration of services
Joint surgeries  
Laboratory services:
  • Genetic/molecular diagnostic testing
  • Quantitative drug screening
Lung volume reduction  
Maze procedures  
Mental health Services such as psychological testing and neuropsychological testing for individuals with mild to moderate treatment needs require prior authorization. Following a PCP's EPSDT screening, behavioral health treatment for members require prior authorization.
Nursing facility admissions (skilled nursing facility)  
Orthognathic procedures (includes TMJ treatment)  
Out-of-network providers and services Services rendered by out-of-network providers require prior authorization.

Excludes emergency services and self-referral services allowed under the Medi-Cal plan for family planning, pregnancy termination, HIV counseling and testing, immunizations at the local health department, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Outpatient surgeries and procedures performed in outpatient facilities or ambulatory surgery centers Certain procedure codes; call or go to CHW website to determine if authorization is required
Outpatient therapies: physical, occupational and speech Requires prior authorization after 12 combined visits. Includes home setting.
Pain management services  
Pharmacy services See PDL on CHW website for list of covered drugs and Limitation/Restrictions – notification within 1 business day of request receipt. The plan will cover the pharmacy to dispense a 72-hour emergency supply of an outpatient drug while awaiting a prior-authorization decision.
Radiology imaging - CT, MRA, MRI, PET Go to RadMD
Reconstructive and cosmetic surgery, services and supplies, including, but not limited to:
  • Bone alteration or reshaping, such as osteoplasty
  • Breast reduction and augmentation except when following a mastectomy (includes for gynecomastia or macromastia)
  • Dermatology, such as chemical exfoliation and electrolysis, dermabrasions and chemical peels, laser treatment or skin injections and implants
  • Excision, excessive skin and subcutaneous tissue (including lipectomy and panniculectomy) of the abdomen, thighs, hips, legs, buttocks, forearms, arms, hands, submental fat pad, and other areas.
  • Eye or brow procedures, such as blepharoplasty, brow ptosis or canthoplasty
  • Muscle flap
  • Nasal surgery such as rhinoplasty or septoplasty
  • Otoplasty
  • Penile Implant
  • Treatment of varicose veins
Rehabilitation - Inpatient  
Sleep studies
  • Home sleep testing
  • Facility based sleep testing (effective December 1, 2020)
Specialist consultation and/or procedures For members under age 21
Specialty and bio-pharmaceutical therapy See CHW provider website "Pharmacy" page for Specialty Pharmacy PA Information and "Pre-Auth Check" page for checking PA status of provider administered drugs.
Spinal surgery, includes, but not limited to, laminotomy, discectomy, vertebroplasty, nucleoplasty, and X- stop  
Transplant services including evaluation Fax requests to: 833-769-1140
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) and laser assisted UPPP  
Ventriculectomy, cardiomyoplasty  
Non-Benefit Services
Non-Benefit Services Prior Authorization - California
Community Supports
  • Asthma remediation
  • Environmental accessibility adaptations (home modifications)
  • Housing tenancy and sustaining services
  • Housing transition navigation services
  • Recuperative care (medical respite)
  • Meals/medically tailored meals
  • Sobering centers
Refer to the California Health & Wellness Provider Operations Manual regarding specific services available in your county