A Look at State Take-Up of ARPA Mobile Crisis Services in Medicaid
Rising concerns about mental health and substance use disorder have led to new policy initiatives and funding to improve access and quality of services to address mental health crisis. While crisis call centers are accessible nationwide, the availability and characteristics of other components of the crisis continuum–mobile crisis units and stabilization centers–vary across and within states, as does the financing of these systems. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), passed in 2021, had several Medicaid-focused provisions to improve and expand access to crisis systems in Medicaid. Medicaid programs can access the 85% enhanced federal match for ARPA mobile crisis services for eligible Medicaid enrollees. As of November 2023, 13 states obtained CMS approval for state plans amendments to cover ARPA community-based mobile crisis intervention services, making them eligible for enhanced federal matching funds under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) option. Beyond the ARPA incentives, recent Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations into police handling of mental health calls could spur expansion of mobile crisis.