ALBANY, N.Y. /New York Netwire/ — Today, N.Y. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced New York will issue $60 million in awards over three years to mental health and addiction services providers as part of the transformation of the State’s Medicaid system. The awards will aid behavioral health providers transform to a business model of Value-Based Payment, which rewards quality of care and better health outcomes, rather than the volume of services they provide.

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo
“This funding will help ensure New Yorkers in need receive access to vital mental health services, while continuing our work to make Medicaid both more effective and more affordable,” Governor Cuomo said. “This is one more step towards a stronger, healthier New York for all.”

Governor Cuomo initiated the State’s Medicaid Redesign Team in 2011 to fundamentally restructure New York’s Medicaid program to improve health, enhance quality, and lower healthcare costs. Unlike other states’ strategies to redesign Medicaid which have relied on taking away benefits from low-income people or by cutting provider payment rates as ways to cut Medicaid costs, New York has successfully controlled costs while improving the quality of care.

The funds will be awarded to 19 selected networks of behavioral healthcare providers, called Behavioral Health Care Collaboratives helping them to integrate care across the entire spectrum of physical and behavioral health services.

OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “Governor Cuomo and I are pleased to provide this financial assistance to mental health and substance use treatment providers as they transition to a system which pays on outcomes and not on volume. This funding will help to improve the integration of behavioral health and physical health care and better serve people with mental health conditions. It will allow behavioral health providers to develop the tools needed to demonstrate the quality of their services and succeed in a value based reimbursement system.”

OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said, “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York State’s Medicaid system is evolving to provide higher quality healthcare more efficiently. These awards will advance those efforts and further strengthen the collaboration of physical and behavioral health services, which is critical to successfully treating people with substance use disorders who may also be struggling with other emotional or behavioral problems.”

DOH Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “Integrating behavioral health into the primary care setting is a key goal in the Department’s efforts to make high-quality mental health and substance use treatment more accessible to those who need it. Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s support, these funds will advance our efforts to transform New York’s healthcare industry to one that prioritizes value and quality. Under this new model of healthcare, people suffering from behavioral health and substance use disorders will get the support they need more efficiently and effectively.”

Senator George Amedore, Chair of the Senate Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Committee, said, “There is no question that we have to come up with better solutions for our healthcare system. As a state, we must continue to lead the way when it comes to mental health and addiction services. This funding is a step in the right direction to provide quality care for individuals with mental health conditions. It will strengthen our approach to behavioral health services by giving providers the tools necessary to efficiently treat patients and produce better outcomes.”

Senator Robert G. Ortt, Chair of the Senate Mental Health Committee, said, “Ensuring that New Yorkers in need of mental health and addiction services receive the highest quality treatment available is just as important as access to treatment itself. As a state, we must encourage health providers to improve the situation of each individual they treat, and reward them for going above and beyond with their services. These funds that have been laid aside will change the way health providers operate, and help push mental healthcare into a new and improved era.”

Assemblymember Aileen Gunther, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Mental Health, said, “The transition of the behavioral health system to value-based payments is a monumental change for the providers who care for people with mental illness. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo for helping to ensure that resources are available to make this change a successful one.”

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse, said, “Substance use and mental health problems are often co-occurring disorders. While additional resources will remain necessary to fully tackle this epidemic, Governor Cuomo recognizes the wisdom of allocating providers with funding to help people struggling with these dual demons.”

The awards are being funded through the NYS Office of Mental Health, the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, and the NYS Department of Health.

Funding will assist the selected BHCCs to enhance the quality of the care patients receive to improve behavioral and physical health outcomes.

Awards will be used for a wide variety of healthcare improvements, including:

  • Identifying gaps in the continuum of care, to better connect the patient to the next level of integrated healthcare;
  • Ensuring ongoing monitoring of care planning, to avoid unnecessary costs and avoidable complications;
  • Identifying opportunities for performance improvement and cost reduction;
  • Improving IT capabilities to more efficiently share data with other providers and partners;
  • Developing a quality improvement process for responding when issues are not being addressed or quality indicators are not being met.