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HHS Approves New Mexico’s Request to Expand Access to Critical Behavioral Health Services Through Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), approved a proposal from New Mexico for community-based mobile crisis intervention teams to provide Medicaid crisis services. The announcement is the latest in HHS’ ongoing efforts to support President Biden’s whole-of-government strategy to transform mental health services for all Americans — a key part of the President’s Unity Agenda.

New Mexico is the 15th state to expand access to community-based mental health and substance use crisis care through President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. With this approval, the state will be able to provide Medicaid services through mobile crisis teams by connecting eligible individuals in crisis to a behavioral health provider 24 hours per day, 365 days a year.

“The Biden-Harris Administration has worked to make mental health and substance use crisis care more accessible to all Americans in need,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “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.”

“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,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “We applaud New Mexico for saving lives by meeting people where they are.”

Addressing the nation’s behavioral health crisis is a top priority of the Biden-Harris Administration. These mobile crisis intervention teams, comprised of trained behavioral health professionals and paraprofessionals, provide rapid response, individual assessment, stabilization, and de-escalation to people with Medicaid who are in need. As a result, states can better integrate behavioral health services into their Medicaid programs — a cornerstone of the public health-focused support networks our communities need.

Providing fast, appropriate care to someone in crisis saves lives while reducing the need for costly inpatient services later. New Mexico’s new mobile crisis intervention program does just that, by expanding access to behavioral health professionals for someone in crisis. New Mexico’s state plan amendment adds mobile crisis response and crisis planning, facilitation of in-person handoffs between health care team members, referrals to ongoing supports, and follow up check-ins for individuals experiencing a mental health or substance use disorder crisis. New Mexico joins Alabama, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

This work builds on HHS’ broader work to expand dramatically the full continuum of mental health crisis services — including through the nationwide launch of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline , the national suicide and crisis lifeline, and expansion of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics under the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which provide crisis services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of a person’s ability to pay. To date, HHS has invested more than $1 billion in advancing the 988 lifeline and answered more than 6 million calls, chats, and texts. To learn more, please review the National Guidelines for Behavioral Health Crisis Care – PDF.

For more information on New Mexico’s approval, visit – PDF.