The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded $15 million in planning grants to 20 states to support expanding community-based mobile crisis intervention services for Medicaid beneficiaries. By connecting people who are experiencing a mental health or substance use disorder crisis to a behavioral health specialist or critical treatment, these services — which will be provided by funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and will be available 24 hours per day, every day of the year — can help save lives. Importantly, these services can also help to reduce the reliance on law enforcement when people are experiencing a behavioral health crisis and, in turn, may help to prevent the unnecessary incarceration of people with serious mental illness or substance use disorders.
The planning grants — funded by the ARP — provide financial resources for state Medicaid agencies to assess community needs and develop programs to bring crisis intervention services directly to individuals who are experiencing a substance use-related or mental health crisis outside a hospital or facility setting. These grants will help states integrate community-based mobile crisis intervention services into their Medicaid programs, a critical component of establishing a sustainable and public health-focused crisis support network.
“The pandemic has taken a serious toll on the mental health of Americans, especially in underserved communities,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Through these awards, the Biden-Harris Administration is making a bold investment to highlight the importance of behavioral health and ensure states can provide vital services to those hardest hit by the pandemic. This funding from the American Rescue Plan will expand access to crisis care for everyone — and reach people where they are.”
“With these grants, CMS is taking strides to connect individuals in crisis with the high-quality, expert care they need. Providing behavioral health care experts as alternatives to police is an example of how we can better help communities deliver on the behavioral health needs of all its residents,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure.
The planning grants provide funding to develop, prepare for, and implement qualifying community-based mobile crisis intervention services under the Medicaid program. Grant funds can be used to support states’ assessments of their current services; strengthen capacity and information systems; ensure that services can be accessed 24 hours a day, every day of the year; provide behavioral health care training for multi-disciplinary teams; or seek technical assistance to develop State Plan Amendments (SPAs), demonstration applications, and waiver program requests under the Medicaid program.
On April 1, 2022, thanks to the ARP, all states will be eligible for a temporarily enhanced matching rate for implementing a qualified community-based mobile crisis intervention option in their Medicaid programs. The period of performance for this grant will be from September 30, 2021, through September 29, 2022.
View the list of CMS Award Recipients.