Practically no one in the field of mental health and addiction treatment thought six months would be sufficient time. The Ohio Department of Medicaid has launched a massive change, first altering billing rates and codes, then moving coverage to managed care. Officials initially proposed one year for the transition from phase one to phase two, necessary to work out the inevitable kinks and surprises. Now they are in the process of trying to pull off the feat between the first of the year and July 1.

State officials keep insisting that things are proceeding well enough. That is not the thinking from the front in counties across the state, according to a survey conducted this month by the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family Services Providers. Gov. John Kasich and team should pay heed, especially in view of the opioid crisis. This isn’t a time for disrupting the availability of resources for care.

If the goal is to get the job done before the governor’s term concludes, an additional six months still would meet the deadline.

No doubt, the administration has embarked on a worthwhile project, known as the Behavioral Health Redesign. It seeks to update regulations and expand service capacity. It is part of pursuing true parity in coverage of mental illnesses compared to physical ailments. It adds to the many achievements of the governor in improving the Medicaid program.

Getting all the elements of the redesign in line always posed the steepest challenge. So the concern voiced in Summit and other counties isn’t mere grumbling about change. Providers here and elsewhere see the ultimate value. What troubles them are the many glitches and burdens they have faced in the transition.

Consider the survey results from the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family Services Providers showing that 61 percent of the members were receiving less than 80 percent of their projected Medicaid revenue. This outcome doesn’t reflect errors in their forecasts. Providers and related agencies have run into delays, changes and errors that have upset funding streams.

Thus, the survey found that 59 percent of provider organizations have tapped cash reserves, and 35 percent have drawn on a line of credit. As it is, they see their already hard-pressed finances becoming more fragile and worse — squeezing the availability of treatment for patients.

For instance, group counseling rates as a best practice, according to research, and a path the state encourages. Yet local providers note the redesign has slashed the reimbursement rate, the treatment becoming too costly to provide, those in need at risk of not receiving care. There have been gaps in reimbursement for inpatient and outpatient care. Authorizations have been slow, providers going forward with treatment in the hope of approval arriving later.

The council points out that denials of claims have climbed to 25 percent, above the 10 percent typical in the past. There are other examples of troubles, including difficulties retaining and recruiting psychiatrists and nurses, further jeopardizing the capacity to respond to those with mental illnesses and/or addictions.

Again, the purpose of the Behavioral Health Redesign is sound, and, surely, the many shortcomings that have surfaced can be worked out. What the council survey shouts is: Make the corrections before taking the leap into another new realm, managed care. For a state coping with a severe opioid crisis, the July 1 deadline is less important than getting the transition right.