The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), approved a proposal from New Mexico for community-based mobile crisis intervention teams Tuesday to provide Medicaid crisis services.

The announcement is the latest in HHS’ ongoing efforts to support President Joe Biden’s strategy to transform mental health services for all Americans.

New Mexico is the 15th state to expand access to community-based mental health and substance use crisis care through Biden’s American Rescue Plan. With this approval, the state will be able to provide Medicaid services through mobile crisis teams by connecting eligible individuals in crisis to a behavioral health provider 24 hours per day, 365 days a year.

“The Biden-Harris Administration has worked to make mental health and substance use crisis care more accessible to all Americans in need,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Expanding mobile crisis intervention teams across New Mexico will ensure more New Mexicans get the treatment they need when they need it, and I encourage other states to take similar steps. Whether it’s mobile crisis intervention teams, certified community behavioral health clinics, or 988 the national suicide and crisis lifeline — investing in our nation’s crisis continuum of care is critical to saving lives and making our communities healthier.”

These mobile crisis intervention teams, comprised of trained behavioral health professionals and paraprofessionals, provide rapid response, individual assessment, stabilization, and de-escalation to people with Medicaid who are in need. As a result, states can better integrate behavioral health services into their Medicaid programs — a cornerstone of the public health-focused support networks our communities need.

“Today, New Mexico is joining 14 other states in taking an important step forward in making help accessible to those in behavioral health crises when they most need these services,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “We applaud New Mexico for saving lives by meeting people where they are.”