HHS Approves Nation’s First Medicaid Mobile Crisis Intervention Program

September 14, 2022 by Dan McCue
HHS Approves Nation’s First Medicaid Mobile Crisis Intervention Program
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services has approved a first-of-its-kind proposal to cover community-based mobile crisis intervention services in Medicaid. 

The proposal originated with the Oregon Health Authority and with the department’s blessing, through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the state will now be able to provide community-based stabilization services to individuals experiencing mental health and/or substance use crises 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The new Medicaid option became available to states in March 2022 and is part of HHS’ latest effort to deliver on President Biden’s comprehensive national strategy to address the nation’s mental health crisis. 

Oregon is the first state to seek and be granted approval for this new Medicaid option, and the department is strongly encouraging other states to adopt its model of expanding access to these vital crisis care services. 

The new Medicaid option gives states an opportunity to support community-based mobile crisis intervention services for individuals with Medicaid, including those who have both a mental health and substance use condition, such as opioid use. 

Mobile crisis intervention services aim to provide individuals who are experiencing mental health and/or substance use crises with screening and assessment; community-based stabilization and de-escalation; and coordination with and referrals to health, social and other services, as needed, by a trained behavioral health professional or paraprofessional. 

Health care experts have long maintained that providing immediate and appropriate care to someone in crisis not only helps reduce the possibility that they will harm themselves, but also helps reduce the need for costly inpatient services.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and @DanMcCue

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  • Health and Human Services
  • Medicaid
  • mental health
  • Oregon Health Authority
  • Substance abuse
  • Xavier Becerra
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