- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 16, 2005

A top multibillion-dollar managed-care health company has dismissed from its national professional advisory council a leading mental health academic who advocates therapy for homosexuals who wish to change their sexual orientation.

Magellan Health Services Inc. expelled Warren Throckmorton, psychology professor and counseling director at Grove City College in northwestern Pennsylvania, as “a business decision.”

The company said Mr. Throckmorton’s positions on homosexuality were “potentially controversial” and not “in the best interests” of the company’s corporate clients and employees, company spokesman Erin S. Somers told The Washington Times.

“We made the decision … out of concern that certain of his publicly expressed views could be potentially controversial to Magellan’s stakeholders,” she said.

She declined to elaborate.

Alex Rodriguez, the company’s chief medical officer, expelled Mr. Throckmorton by telephone Feb. 14, and confirmed his action in a terse follow-up letter that stated no reason for the decision.

Mr. Throckmorton, past president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association, had advised Magellan’s 63,000 mental health care providers since December 1999.

He said in a Feb. 16 letter to Mr. Rodriguez that the ethics code of the American Counseling Association requires clinical psychologists to “understand the diverse cultural backgrounds of the clients with whom they work” and not allow their own cultural, ethnic or racial identity to affect their counseling.

The code “is applicable to clients who seek to change their sexual orientation [and] applies to anyone who feels or perceives themselves as struggling with an issue that impacts negatively the quality and comfort of their daily life,” he wrote.

“I am a champion of client self-determination, a value that I hope would also inform the values of Magellan,” he told Mr. Rodriguez.

An official at Magellan’s corporate offices told The Times that Mr. Throckmorton’s service “stirred some concern” in the company when homosexual groups criticized a documentary he produced about former homosexuals titled “I Do Exist.”

“There is a high percentage of gay men in the behavioral health world, and Warren’s views are considered a threat,” the company official said on the condition of anonymity.

“Magellan has caved in to pressure from those who disagree with me on an issue that will continue to be important to its subscribers,” Mr. Throckmorton said in an interview. “Will treatment policy be dictated by political pressure on all issues?”

Dean Byrd, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Utah, said Magellan’s expulsion of Mr. Throckmorton “is merely a cloak for intolerance and a blatant disregard for differing worldviews, the essence of true diversity.”

“I would hope that there would be an investigation of Magellan’s business practices by both the government as well as their subscribers,” he said.

Magellan is seeking managed-care business from Medicaid.

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