The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the healthcare system is not ready for such crises. It is necessary to create unique units capable of responding in time to a rapidly changing situation to prevent similar disasters in the future. In this letter, I want to emphasize the need for the formation of special mobile crisis response programs within the framework of Medicaid. In addition, I review the main points regarding funding at different levels and the effects that programs have on patients, their environment, and members of my profession.
The key factors that form the basis of mobile crisis response teams are their constant availability and fast reaction times. European counterparts built on the crisis resolution team model show a response time within one hour (Muehsam, 2018). In addition, such units can provide care at home, monitoring patients for a long time. The need for this kind of support is extremely high due to the insufficient number of workers in the health care system (O’Brien et al., 2022). Overcoming this obstacle can be feasible by creating teams designed to deal with emergencies and improving the skills of existing workers to the required level.
Integrating such formations into the overall system is not an issue from the federal budget perspective. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) already provides opportunities to create Medicaid crisis intervention services for people with mental health problems or drug abuse (O’Brien et al., 2022). Moreover, centers associated with Medicaid and Medicare currently provide grants for developing such strategies. Consequently, the foundation for expanding such services has already been laid and should not become burdensome for the federal budget. In terms of organizational expenses, such a strategy may even become more cost-effective. Studies show that crisis teams that respond faster than conventional forces and transfer more resources to clients significantly reduce the cost of the central unit (Semple et al., 2020). Most of these benefits are related to increased work efficiency. Therefore, implementing mobile crisis response teams is possible and can also bring economic benefits.
For workers in this area, there are also several positive points worthy of mention. Such teams are formed, first of all, from existing specialists. However, for the quality performance of their work, these professionals must have the appropriate qualifications. Currently, many registered nurses do not have sufficient knowledge to participate in large-scale emergencies (Veenema et al., 2019). Therefore, the active development of the strategy mentioned above will fill the existing gaps in knowledge and make medical workers more qualified. Accordingly, this will positively affect the quality of care provided to patients and their families. The creation of platforms and crisis management teams, especially with the help of modern technologies, can significantly speed up and simplify the provision of medical services to those in need (Krausz et al., 2020). While not directly impacting their cost, such maximization of the resources used dramatically increases their availability. The consequence of this policy is a faster and better resolution of emergencies like COVID-19 and a decrease in the number of seriously ill and injured people.
Thus, the formation of mobile crisis response units based on Medicaid will make it possible to use available resources more efficiently, reduce the time to deliver services to patients, and improve people’s conditions. Federal grounds for implementing such strategies already exist and are reflected in ARPA, making them easier to consider. In addition, with the right strategy, these services can be even more cost-effective, which makes them especially attractive at the level of various organizations and communities. I hope that this letter has sufficiently described to you the necessity and urgency of this problem. I also hope to get your support on this issue, as it is incredibly relevant and essential for our society.
Krausz, M., Westenberg, J. N., Vigo, D., Spence, R. T., & Ramsey, D. (2020). Emergency response to COVID-19 in Canada: platform development and implementation for eHealth in crisis management. JMIR Public Health and Surveillance, 6(2), e18995.
Muehsam, J. P. (2018). Association between clinical observations and a mobile crisis team’s level of care recommendations. Community Mental Health Journal, 55(3), 394-400.
O’Brien, J., Wachino, V., Gulley, J.; & Martone, K. (2022). Federal policy recommendations to support state implementation of Medicaid-funded mobile crisis programs. Technical Assistance Collaborative. Web.
Semple, T., Tomlin, M., Bennell, C., & Jenkins, B. (2021). An evaluation of a community-based mobile crisis intervention team in a small Canadian police service. Community Mental Health Journal, 57(3), 567-578.
Veenema, T. G., Boland, F., Patton, D., O’Connor, T., Moore, Z., & Schneider-Firestone, S. (2019). Analysis of emergency health care workforce and service readiness for a mass casualty event in the Republic of Ireland. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 13(2), 243-255.