John O'Brien has more than 35 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. John directs TAC'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. John works with TAC's homeless and housing experts to help systems strengthen their ability to meet the affordable housing and service needs of people with SUDs.
Most recently, John 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, John 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. He played a significant role in the implementation of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act and the Home and in Community Based Services regulations. At SAMHSA, John was the Senior Advisor to the Administrator on Health Care Reform.