Manatt Continues to Build National Advisor Team with Addition of Behavioral Health Care Leader

John O’Brien brings over 30 years of experience in behavioral health systems design, financing and implementation to the Firm’s national health care advisory team

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, a multidisciplinary, integrated professional services firm, today announced the arrival of National Advisor John O’Brien to the Firm’s Health Care industry group. With an extensive background working with federal, state and commercial health plans and Medicaid authorities, O’Brien is a nationally-recognized leader known for helping clients address the nation’s most pressing mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) policy issues.

“Our National Advisors include highly accomplished leaders across health care, government and other industries who all bring significant experience navigating the top business, policy and operational matters confronting our clients,” said Manatt CEO and Managing Partner Donna L. Wilson. “John’s experience in the behavioral health space is unmatched, making him an ideal addition to our National Advisor program, as well as an invaluable resource for our clients operating in this rapidly evolving part of health care.”

O’Brien’s work centers on helping states and other stakeholders address some of the most complex and sophisticated mental health and SUD challenges in the country. For example, he has worked closely with the U.S. Department of Justice to help oversee community integration strategies for individuals with mental illness. Additionally, he provides strategies to implement systems of care aimed at improving the mental health of children, youth and their families as well as develops policy and financing options for clients working to resolve the current SUD epidemic.

“John’s experience leading cutting-edge programs at the federal agency level make him an incredible addition as we expand our work with clients offering preventative, treatment and supports services in the mental health and SUD spaces,” said Manatt Health Leader Bill Bernstein. “His familiarity with the policy, regulatory and operational aspects relating to Medicaid and behavioral health more generally will further deepen our capabilities to support our clients who are leading delivery system reform.”

A prolific writer and thought leader on behavioral health, O’Brien has also served in leadership roles for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 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 to develop guidance surrounding parity for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. O’Brien also contributed significantly to the implementation of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act and in developing the Home and Community Based Services regulations.

“I have long admired Manatt’s commitment to its clients in improving our health care system, with a focus on equity and access to care,” said O’Brien. “I couldn’t be more excited to join Manatt as I continue supporting states, health systems and other health care organizations advance high-quality care throughout communities nationwide.”

O’Brien joins the Firm’s expanding roster of legal and consulting professionals across the Firm’s core practices, including Health Care (Heide Bajnrauh, Axel Bernabe, Robert (Rob) Fraiman, Seth Frazier, Eric Gold, Paul Irving, Dr. Tracy Johnson, Anna Lansky, Lauren Polak, Thomas (Tom) Robertson, Lisa Sbrana and Mark Wietecha); Financial Services (Jessica Sklute); Digital and Technology (Tim Andrews and Lisa W. Rosaya); Entertainment (Binta Niambi Brown, Bill D'Angelo); and Litigation (Schuyler G. Carroll, Dylan Carson, Randy S. Grossman, Kareem A. Salem and Justin Wolosz)

O’Brien earned his M.A. from the University of Chicago and his B.A. from Loyola University Chicago.



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