John O’Brien has more than 30 years of experience in behavioral health systems design, financing, and implementation. He has worked with Medicaid, mental health, and substance abuse authorities in numerous states to develop federal Medicaid waivers, Medicaid state plan amendments, and federal grant applications. A former Senior Consultant at TAC, John directed the organization’s work on substance use disorders (SUDs) with an emphasis on helping states increase access to services, integrate SUD treatment and primary care, and reduce unnecessary costs by using Medicaid and other sources to support effective systems. He was the subject matter expert for several states in their efforts to implement systems of care for children and families with serious mental health conditions and on community integration strategies for adults with serious mental illness.
John has worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in leadership roles with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). At CMS, he led the Innovation Accelerator Program for Substance Use Disorder and Primary and Mental Health Integration and coordinated the agency’s efforts on developing guidance regarding parity for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. John played a significant role in the implementation of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act and in developing the Home and Community Based Services regulations. At SAMHSA, John was Senior Advisor to the Administrator on Health Care Reform.