American Rescue Plan’s New State Option for Community-Based Mobile Crisis Interventions
The recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), provides an exciting opportunity for states and localities to invest in a more equitable, comprehensive, and integrated crisis system that connects individuals in behavioral health crisis with specialized and appropriate behavioral health treatment. The new mobile crisis provision can help states address rising behavioral health needs worsened by COVID-19. States that take up the new option to provide community mobile crisis intervention services for a five-year period beginning in April 2022 will receive an 85 percent enhanced federal matching rate for qualifying services for the first three years of state coverage. To further encourage states, ARP includes $15 million in planning grants to support state efforts to develop a state plan amendment (SPA) or waiver request.
State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar during which experts from Manatt Health provided an overview and considerations on the state option to provide community mobile crisis interventions services included in ARP. Presenters walked through key questions on the new option, reviewed promising models for crisis mobile intervention services, and shared strategies for equitable design and implementation. The webinar included a question and answer session during which webinar participants posed their questions to the experts on the line. In case you missed it, the corresponding expert perspective, American Rescue Plan Provides a New Opportunity for States to Invest in Equitable, Comprehensive and Integrated Crisis Services, is posted on our website.
Medicaid enrollment has increased by over 10 million (or 15 percent) from February 2020 through February 2021 across all states since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. States have a clear imperative to center health equity as they plan for the end of the public health emergency (PHE) given that Black, Latino/a, and other people of color are most at risk of coverage loss. This expert perspective highlights strategies states can implement to ensure that the end of the PHE does not exacerbate already widespread racial and ethnic disparities in our health care system.
COVID-19 vaccines are now widely accessible in the United States and free to everyone over the age of 12. Given the spread of the Delta variant, there is an urgent need to increase vaccination rates, particularly among Medicaid enrollees. States across the country continue to report Medicaid enrollees are getting vaccinated at lower rates than the general population. This expert perspective explores how state Medicaid managed care programs and health plans can work collaboratively to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates for the more than 55 million Medicaid enrollees in comprehensive managed care plans.
Many states are looking to fill gaps in race and ethnicity data for Medicaid and related agencies. Working with the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) at the University of Minnesota, with support from the State Health and Value Strategies (SHVS) program, New York tested multiple strategies aimed at encouraging applicants to answer the optional race and ethnicity questions. This expert perspective highlights an effort by New York’s official state-based marketplace, NY State of Health, to improve the completeness of race and ethnicity data that applicants share when applying for Medicaid; Child Health Plus, the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); the Essential Plan, New York’s Basic Health Program (BHP); or Qualified Health Plan (QHP) coverage through its Marketplace.