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New Mexico Implements Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams With HHS Approval

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The mobile intervention teams mark a significant step forward in federal efforts to transform mental health services across the nation, as New Mexico becomes the 15th state to adopt this option under the American Rescue Plan.

Mental health matters | Image Credit: © netrun78 - stock.adobe.com

The broader efforts of HHS to expand mental health crisis services include the nationwide launch of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and the expansion of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics. Image Credit: © netrun78 - stock.adobe.com

HHS has given its approval to New Mexico's proposal for community-based mobile crisis intervention teams to provide Medicaid crisis services. This marks a significant step forward in President Joe Biden's efforts to transform mental health services across the nation. New Mexico becomes the 15th state to adopt this option under the American Rescue Plan.1

The mobile crisis intervention teams in New Mexico will be tasked with connecting eligible individuals in crisis to behavioral health providers 24/7, 365 days a year. This initiative aims to provide rapid response, individual assessment, stabilization, and de-escalation to people with Medicaid who require immediate support.

“The Biden-Harris Administration has worked to make mental health and substance use crisis care more accessible to all Americans in need,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.1 “Expanding mobile crisis intervention teams across New Mexico will ensure more New Mexicans get the treatment they need when they need it, and I encourage other states to take similar steps. Whether it’s mobile crisis intervention teams, certified community behavioral health clinics, or 988 the national suicide and crisis lifeline—investing in our nation’s crisis continuum of care is critical to saving lives and making our communities healthier.”

Expanding access to fast and appropriate care for individuals in crisis not only saves lives but also reduces the need for costly inpatient services later on. New Mexico's plan includes mobile crisis response, crisis planning, referrals to ongoing support, and follow-up check-ins for individuals experiencing mental health or substance use disorder crises.

This approval adds New Mexico to the list of states, including Alabama, California, Colorado, and others, that have expanded access to community-based mental health and substance use crisis care under Biden's American Rescue Plan.

“Today, New Mexico is joining 14 other states in taking an important step forward in making help accessible to those in behavioral health crises when they most need these services,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in the statement. “We applaud New Mexico for saving lives by meeting people where they are.”

The broader efforts of HHS to expand mental health crisis services include the nationwide launch of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and the expansion of certified community behavioral health clinics. These initiatives aim to provide crisis services 24/7, regardless of a person's ability to pay.

In New Jersey, a similar initiative is underway with the establishment of Mobile Crisis Outreach Response Teams. Funded by the Department of Human Services' Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, this program aims to respond to non–life-threatening situations for adults who have contacted the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.2

CarePlus NJ will lead the implementation of Mobile Crisis Outreach Response Teams in Bergen and Passaic counties. The organization aims to provide timely crisis intervention services, prevent hospitalization and incarceration, and deliver equitable behavioral crisis services to all residents.

“Our extensive experience in crisis response and interventions will enable us to quickly establish Mobile Crisis Outreach Response Teams in Bergen and Passaic counties to support individuals seeking help through the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline,” Brigitte Johnson, CEO, and president, CarePlus NJ, said in a statement.2 “This grant provides vital funding to help us expand our crisis programs and respond to non-life-threatening mental health, substance use, or suicidal emergencies without law enforcement or other emergency personnel, connecting people to proper care, and improving overall outcomes.”

References

1. HHS approves New Mexico’s request to expand access to critical behavioral health services through mobile crisis intervention teams. News release. HHS. February 6, 2024. Accessed February 8, 2024. https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2024/02/06/hhs-approves-new-mexicos-request-to-expand-access-to-critical-behavioral-health-services-through-mobile-crisis-intervention-teams.html

2. ROI-NJ Staff. CarePlus NJ awarded grant to lead 988 Mobile Crisis Outreach Response Teams for Bergen, Passaic counties. ROI-NJ. February 8, 2024. https://www.roi-nj.com/2024/02/08/healthcare/careplus-nj-awarded-grant-to-lead-988-mobile-crisis-outreach-response-teams-for-bergen-passaic-counties

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