Sen. Wyden lauds grant allocations for mental health

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Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) said the recent allocation of state Medicaid program planning grants would aid those suffering from mental health and substance use crises.

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Ron Wyden

Officials indicated the allocations to 20 state programs, via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, are modeled after the Eugene, Oregon-based CAHOOTS initiative, which enables a multi-disciplinary team to respond to mental health crises as a means of stabilizing and de-escalating situations while helping to connect individuals to needed health care services.

“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.”

Under the American Rescue Plan, $15 million will be made available to states, officials noted, detailing an opt-in feature would provide a higher federal Medicaid match, based upon the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage of 85 percent for qualifying mobile crisis services.

Authorities said the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the match would give states $1 billion in additional federal Medicaid dollars for mobile crisis services in the future.

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