September 20,2021

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Wyden Applauds Cahoots Planning Grant Awards For 20 States

CMS Announcement Sets Stage for Dramatic Expansion of Mobile Crisis Intervention Services Beginning Next Year

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today applauded the Biden administration for announcing planning grant awards for 20 state Medicaid programs to support the development of mobile crisis intervention service programs to help those struggling with mental health and substance use disorder crises.

“These grants will kick start the effort to help those experiencing a mental health crisis get the services they need and reduce the prospect of an encounter with law enforcement,” Wyden said. “I’m optimistic that communities around the country will be able to implement mobile crisis intervention services with this major investment from Medicaid. Meanwhile I continue to work to extend this program and truly reimagine public safety in the United States.” 

Mobile crisis intervention services are designed to help those struggling with mental illness receive needed care instead of involving law enforcement. Modeled on the Eugene, Ore., based CAHOOTS program operated by the White Bird Clinic, these services allow a multi-disciplinary team to respond to mental health crises in order to stabilize and de-escalate the situation and help connect individuals to the health care and wraparound services they need.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced grants to 20 states: Alabama, California, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia. More information on the awards can be found here.

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) provided $15 million in planning grants for state Medicaid agencies to help set up these services around the country. These planning dollars will help states take advantage of enhanced Medicaid funding that will be available for these services beginning next year. Under the ARP, states that opt-in will be able to receive a higher federal Medicaid match, known as the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), of 85 percent for qualifying mobile crisis services. CBO estimated that this provision will give states $1 billion in additional federal Medicaid dollars for mobile crisis services in the coming years.