New York State Announces In-Person Events to Discuss Changes to the Children’s Medicaid System


Five Information Sessions Scheduled this Summer Across the State

 New York State will hold five informational sessions this summer to help eligible families learn about changes to the Medicaid system and new services being offered.

The educational sessions are for children and families who are participating in the new Medicaid Children’s Waiver* and/or who are receiving newly available mental health or substance use State Plan Services. The forums provide an opportunity to share input, ask questions and gather more information about the transition of services to Medicaid Managed Care.

“New York State has been working to ensure that Medicaid services are delivered in a way that works best for children and families. This includes ensuring children have access to all of the services they need and that their health care is approached holistically,” said Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan. “It also means children and families have a say in what services they want, where services are delivered, and how services are provided.”

The five scheduled in-person information sessions this summer follow two virtual meetings held in early spring. These discussions are formatted to help families learn about new services being offered, understand the transition of services to Medicaid Managed Care coverage and discuss concerns about changes in services.

“OCFS is pleased to partner with our sister state agencies to help families understand recent updates in the Medicaid system,” said acting OCFS Commissioner Sheila J. Poole. “These informational sessions will provide an opportunity for families to learn about behavioral health services that are newly available to them and will empower them in determining how those services will be delivered to best meet their individual needs.”

“We look forward to working with our state partners in this initiative to ensure that children, youth and families have equal access to mental health and substance use services,” said Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. “These sessions will provide valuable information and resources to help families make informed decisions and live healthier lives.”

“This collaborative approach to delivering children’s services through one comprehensive Medicaid Children’s Waiver will help young people with both developmental disabilities and complex medical needs access appropriate services,” said Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) Acting Commissioner Theodore A. Kastner. “By making it easier for children and their families to get the community-based services they need, we can better help support young people with complex needs to remain in their family home, and to be participating members of their communities.”

“This new Medicaid benefit is now available for families addressing mental health needs and treatment for substance use and is an important addition to the continuum of care,” said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “Eligible families should take advantage of these informational sessions to ensure their child is receiving the appropriate services they may qualify for.”

The NYS Children’s Medicaid System Transformation: A Discussion with Children and Families – In-Person events will be held at the following dates, times and locations:

Tarrytown                     June 3, 2019 at 5:30 p.m.

New York City              June 4, 2019 at 5:30 p.m.

Albany                         June 11, 2019 at 5:30 p.m.

Buffalo                         June 12, 2019 at 5:30 p.m.

Syracuse                     June 13, 2019 at 5:30 p.m.

All events will have drinks and refreshments starting at 4:30 p.m. To register and learn more about a specific location, click the links above.

*The former waivers that are now part of the new Children’s Waiver include: the Department of Health Care at Home waivers I and II (CAH I/II); the Office of Children and Family Services Bridges to Health (B2H) Waiver; the Office of Mental Health Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED) waiver; and the OPWDD Care at Home (CAH) waiver. Other OPWDD waivers are not affected by this transition.  

 Transforming Medicaid in New York State

In collaboration with the Medicaid Redesign Children’s Subcommittee, the Office of Mental Health (OMH), the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and the Department of Health (DOH) worked to identify new health and behavioral health services to benefit New York State’s children from birth to 21 years of age. Three services launched in January 2019 and additional services are being developed for roll out as part the new Children’s Medicaid System.

The goal of the Children’s Medicaid Redesign initiative is to ensure children/youth and their families/caregivers receive the right services at the right time, in the right amount, and in the right place.