Quick Takes

Kentucky Medicaid gets OK to provide mobile behavioral health care

By: - July 20, 2023 4:29 pm

The Medicaid mobile teams will be made up two people who treat a person outside a hospital for less than a day. Telehealth will also be an option. (Getty Images)

Kentucky will join five other states in providing mobile Medicaid crisis intervention teams later this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Thursday. 

CMS approved Kentucky’s proposals for these services alongside California. 

Mobile teams allow behavioral health professionals to de-escalate people in need in the field as well as perform on-the-ground assessments and screenings for mental health issues or substance use disorders. 

“Everyone should have access to behavioral health support where they are, when they need it – especially those who are in crisis,” Health & Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “This decision ensures that Californians and Kentuckians will have access to mobile crisis and other community-based supports. These resources will help to improve and save lives.”

Kentucky’s will go into effect Oct. 1, CMS documents show, and cost the federal government nearly $484,000 in 2024 and in 2025 to provide mobile teams and 23-hour crisis stabilization services. 

The mobile teams, according to CMS documents, will be made up of two people who treat a person outside a hospital for less than a day. Telehealth will also be an option. 

“California and Kentucky recognize the vital importance of breaking down barriers to meet people in crisis with the care they need,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a statement. “With these approvals, California and Kentucky join a growing number of states in helping connect people to qualified health professionals as the first point of care during a crisis. This ensures people can get the care they need when and where they need it.” 

The funding comes through the American Rescue Act of 2021.

This story may update. 


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Sarah Ladd
Sarah Ladd

Sarah Ladd is a Louisville-based journalist from West Kentucky who's covered everything from crime to higher education. She spent nearly two years on the metro breaking news desk at The Courier Journal. In 2020, she started reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has covered health ever since. As the Kentucky Lantern's health reporter, she focuses on mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, children's welfare, COVID-19 and more.