Medicaid has an important role to play in building out the availability of services for individuals experiencing a mental health or addiction crisis. In July, the national crisis phone number — 988 — is going to go live. States must ensure they have the capacity to respond to the calls that are going to come in with that launch and marketing of the national number. There will be significant demand for services. Will there be mobile crisis units on-call to respond, for example? Increasing the challeng of this moment is the reality that Medicaid can’t finance a complete crisis continuum alone. Braiding and blending funding is key. Medicaid dollars can sit alongside mental health block grant dollars and other funding to create a full continuum of care.
A successful crisis continuum structure will link the following three elements in a continuous loop.
- Call Center
- Provider Networks to respond
- A performance improvement center for the crisis provider networks
There are three key measures states should consider for their mobile crisis services.
- Utilization: A system is strengthened by consistent usage. And usage is a critical data point for evaluation.
- Mobility: Mobile crisis providers must respond when the calls come in. This response needs to be directed by target goals and measured for outcomes.
- Response Times: Benchmarks need to consider the ability of providers to respond quickly within the geography of the state. These response times need to be measured and reported.