Referral Information

At Counseling and Mental Health Services, our professionally trained clinicians provide support to the appropriate referrals to community mental health providers for those students who will benefit more from open-ended or specialty care.

Obtaining Referrals and Renewing Referrals

Please contact our office at (213) 740-7711 and request an appointment. You will speak with a clinician who will assess your needs and provide a transition of care to appropriate resources (e.g., community psychiatrist, community therapist, or other services) based on your needs. We recommend calling the off-campus provider to ask for the first available appointment.  If you have any difficulties connecting with providers, please call the Center and ask to speak with the original clinician who referred you or reply to the email they sent you via mySHR. Referrals sent to you by email from Counseling and Mental Health Services can be found by logging into mySHR.

The insurance renewal is required each August to continue with the provider into the next academic year. Aetna tends to provide authorization a semester at a time, so providers may wish to call Aetna again in January to confirm that the authorization continued. A renewal online is not needed again in the Spring, if you were already enrolled in the Fall semester. To submit this request:

Request referral/insurance renewal

Please be sure to have the name of your provider and the first date of service this academic year.


What to Expect When Calling Providers

Often providers are with clients and will not be able to answer their phones. Leave a message on their voicemail that mentions you were referred by Counseling and Mental Health Services and clearly provide your phone number and the best call-back times. Expect a phone call back within a few days, rather than immediately. Please be sure your voicemail is set up– typically providers will not continue to keep calling if they are unable to leave a message.

Finding the Right Provider

It may take several calls to find a provider that has an opening that matches your schedule. You can expect to leave a message, so be sure to leave good times to reach you, and most importantly, set up your voicemail. Professionals/businesses will not always continue to try to call you until they reach you. It’s important to find a provider you think you’ll feel comfortable and with whom you feel you can connect. Click the links below to see example questions that people sometimes ask providers.

Tips for finding the right provider for you from national organizations:

National Association Mental Illness

American Psychological Association


Helpful information about the USC Aetna Student Insurance Plan

Verifying Insurance Referral: Aetna providers require a referral from Counseling and Mental Health Services. Please let them know the referral has been performed electronically. Providers can call the USC-dedicated line at (877) 626-2299 to verify this.

Print your Aetna insurance card

Behavioral Health Precertification List


Understanding your benefits

Your mental health benefits for individual psychotherapy include a 10% coinsurance, never to exceed $30 copay and no deductible. Therapy session copays average about $10/session. You may want to inquire to confirm your copay when you make your appointment. If you are asked to pay more than this amount, please inform them of the above or contact Counseling and Mental Health Services for help with clarifying this to the provider. A specific provider’s rates can be verified with Aetna directly at (877) 626-2299 or you can review details on the USC Aetna Student Insurance Plan.

Finding the referrals sent by the Student Counseling Services provider or obtaining more referrals

Your counselor will send you your referrals via the secure messaging system and can be found at the portal, mySHR. For additional options in providers, you can contact your counselor at Counseling and Mental Health Services by replying to the above-referenced message you would have received, or visit the Aetna website:

Aetna Provider Search

  1. Go to Aetna’s Student Health
  2. For the first Search for: select “Behavioral Health Professionals”
  3. For Type: select specialty or focus of treatment OR “All Behavior Health Professionals”
  4. Click Zip or City and enter information
  5. Select distance preference
  6. Select Plan: select “Student Health Plan”
  7. In order to refine your search by additional criteria (i.e. specialty, gender, language, etc.), click “Advanced Search.”

Using Insurance Other Than Aetna

Student Counseling Center counselors will provide referrals based on your insurance coverage, regardless of the plan. If you have additional questions about your mental health benefits on plans other than Aetna, call the number on the back of your insurance card (sometimes this is just a standard “Member Services” line or it will be labeled “Behavioral Health”). You can also visit the company website and use the Provider Finder function. If you feel you need additional assistance navigating insurance issues, do not hesitate to contact the Referral Coordinator, Sapeer Kadoch, BA, at or (213) 740-7711.

Insurance and Your Privacy

If you prefer, your statements, also known as Explanation of Benefits/EOB, can be mailed to you directly to your USC address rather than your permanent address. Please contact member services on the back of your insurance card to arrange for this.

Attention Community Providers

Please direct all updates about your practice and concerns about individual referrals or claims to Sapeer Kadoch, BA, at For any general inquiries about Aetna or to confirm referrals, please call the USC-dedicated customer service line at (877) 626-2299. Or, you may also call Counseling and Mental Health Services at (213) 740-7711.


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