Back to Insights and Updates for ProvidersDecember 2023

Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment timeline update

Tufts Health Together - MassHealth MCO Plan and ACPPs

If your practice administers Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessments to members under the age of 21, please be aware that as outlined in MCE Bulletin 106, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) has changed the timeline for re-assessment from 90 to 180 days.

The CANS behavioral health assessment is a resource of the Massachusetts Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) that assists providers with understanding the strengths and needs of the children and families in their care.

While CANS-certified providers will continue to conduct an initial CANS assessment during a patient’s first behavioral health evaluation (prior to beginning treatment), effective Oct. 31, 2023, practitioners are required to update the CANS assessment at least every 180 days following the initial assessment — or more often as clinically appropriate or as prompted by significant changes in the patient’s life.

Providers are required to report data for each CANS assessment to EOHHS. For CANS program details, visit the MassHealth CANS webpage.

Prior authorization is not required for CANS assessments administered by in-network providers. For more information on billing, please refer to the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Payment Policy and for performance specifications, refer to Tufts Health Plan’s General Behavioral Health Performance Specifications.

Audrey Kleinberg,
Director, Provider Relations & Communications

Annmarie Dadoly,
Senior Manager, Provider Communications

Joseph O’Riordan, Susan Panos, Ryan Francis, Stephen Wong,

Kristin Edmonston,
Production Coordinator

Kristina Cicelova,
Graphic Designer