Senators propose funding for mobile crisis response teams

A group of six senators introduced a bill that would help states adopt mobile crisis response teams for use when a person is experiencing a mental health or substance use disorder crisis instead of involving law enforcement.

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Bernie Sanders (D-VT), are co-sponsors of the bill called the Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (CAHOOTS) Act.

The CAHOOTS Act would provide more than $25 million in grants to states funded through Medicaid to help states establish or operate community-based mobile crisis services.

Earlier this month, the Congress members said, the House Energy and Commerce Committee included a provision in is budget reconciliation language that would fund state Medicaid programs at an enhanced 85 percent federal match if they choose to provide qualifying community-based crisis intervention services and fund state planning grants to apply for the option.

“I’m proud there is a down payment on CAHOOTS in the emergency relief package moving through Congress now,” Wyden said. “Every day, there are stories across the country of Americans in mental distress getting killed or mistreated because they did not receive the emergency mental health services they needed. White Bird Clinic in Eugene, Oregon, has been a pioneer for years in this area, and it’s high time the CAHOOTS model is made available to states and local governments across the country. I am eager to get the down payment signed into law and continue working to get further investments in mobile crisis services made under the bill across the finish line.”

Liz Carey

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