As New York State approaches a transition of the children’s behavioral health system to Medicaid managed care beginning as early as January 1, 2016, the McSilver Institute and its Community Technical Assistance Center (CTAC) have been given the exciting opportunity to provide technical assistance and training around managed care to foster care agencies statewide.
In partnership with the NYS Department of Health (DOH) and the NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), and under the leadership of IPRO, whose mission is “Improving Healthcare for the Common Good,” CTAC will work to help agencies prepare for the change ahead both to secure their own financial viability and to ensure the young people they serve continue to receive excellent services in the new Medicaid environment.
“In 2011, CTAC was originally formed as the Children’s Technical Assistance Center and we continue to build on that strong foundation and mission of assisting kids’ providers,” said Andrew Cleek, CTAC Co-Director and Executive Officer of the McSilver Institute. “Working with as many as one hundred agencies committed to serving foster care youth is a responsibility CTAC takes seriously and is an opportunity we truly relish.”
For CTAC, this foster care initiative consists of three main phases. First, a kickoff webinar was held on February 23, which outlined the upcoming system changes and introduced a readiness assessment tool specifically tailored for OCFS voluntary agencies. CTAC was joined for the kickoff by: Lana Earle, Deputy Director, NYS DOH Division of Program Development & Management, Office of Health Insurance Programs; Laura Velez, NYS OCFS, Deputy Commissioner, Division of Child Welfare & Community Service; and Terri Greco, Assistant Director, IPRO.
Next, the agencies’ leadership and management teams will meet to complete the readiness assessment and identify which critical areas of preparedness they are comfortable with and which require additional guidance and assistance. These domains include contracting, revenue cycle management, utilization management, level-of-care determination, and more.
After completing the readiness assessment and receiving individualized reports benchmarking their answers to the larger provider community, agencies will create a work plan of activities for preparing for the transition in each area. Over the following months, agencies will participate in CTAC trainings and forums while implementing organizational changes with the assistance of state funding specifically available for providers participating in this project.
CTAC’s technical assistance is also just one component of a larger state funded IPRO-led initiative. Other components and partners for the project include the New York Care Coordination Program (NYCCP), which will provide Health Home training, and Empire Health Advisors, which will offer data collection and analysis.
To ensure the provider perspective is informing the initiative, CTAC is thrilled to have the chance to work with a Foster Care subject matter expert in Ray Schimmer, who is the former CEO of Northern Rivers Family Services, a member of Governor Cuomo’s OCFS Advisory Board. Mr. Schimmer brings over forty years of experience to the project in the fields of child welfare, special education, and child and family behavioral health.