New York State has one of the most richly funded Medicaid programs in the United States. In an effort to achieve the triple aim New York State is undergoing a significant redesign of its Medicaid program including transitioning nearly all Medicaid funded behavioral health services into Medicaid managed care. In preparation for this transition, a state funded technical assistance center assessed the behavioral health care system's readiness to undergo this reform across 11 domains. Between September and November, 2014, the TA center electronically distributed a readiness survey to 897 mental health and substance abuse agencies: 313 (n = 269, 33%) organizations completed the assessment. As a whole, the sample felt partially ready to transition; analysis by domain revealed agencies were most ready to interface with managed care providers, and least ready to collect and evaluate outcome data. Significant differences in readiness were found depending by organizational characteristics (number of programs, licensure, and region). In anticipation of large-scale reforms, states would benefit from an initial needs assessment to identify gaps in knowledge and skills, which in turn, can then guide preparatory efforts and provide needed supports to facilitate major changes in service delivery and billing.
Keywords: Managed medicaid reform; Systems change; Technical assistance center.