State Mobile Crisis Teams were first started in New York State (NYS) in combination with Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Programs (CPEP) in 1989 (See CPEP textbox), but have recently been expanded considerably.
A new Crisis Intervention benefit became effective in Medicaid Managed Care in NYC (2015), and for the remainder of NYS (2016). A MCT is part of this larger Crisis Intervention benefit. NYS-approved Mobile Crisis providers bill Medicaid Managed Care Organizations for mobile and telephonic follow-up services.
A MCT consists of:
Billable activities may include:
If a mobile crisis team determines that a person in crisis needs further psychiatric or medical assessment, they can transport that person to a hospital psychiatric emergency room.
Mobile crisis teams may direct police/EMS to take a person to an emergency room against their will only if they have a mental illness (or the appearance of mental illness) and are a danger to themselves or others. This is in accordance with New York State Mental Hygiene Law.
MCT calls are handled centrally, in NYC, through a single point of access program coordinated by NYC Well. There is an online application that can be filled out and submitted by treatment providers or a single phone number, 1-888-NYCWELL that families, friends, or concerned individuals can call to initiate a MCT consult.
As of February 2021, NYC, through a collaboration between the NYC Fire Department (FDNY) and Health and Hospitals, a team of behavioral health clinicians (MCT) will co-respond with FDNY Emergency Medical Services/Emergency Medical Technicians for 911 calls for people in a behavioral health crisis. Police will only respond if the co-response team believes there is an imminent risk for violence. This pilot is modeled after the CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) program in Oregon.
New York State Office of Mental Health 2012 Annual Report to the Governor and Legislature of NYS on Comprehensive Psychiatrist Emergency Programs. https://omh.ny.gov/omhweb/statistics/cpep_annual_ report/2012.pdf
Crisis Intervention Benefit: Mobile Crisis Component Benefit and Billing Guidance. June 18, 2019. https://omh. ny.gov/omhweb/bho/docs/mobile_crisis_intervention_guidance.pdf
NYC Well: Mobile Crisis Referrals. https://nycwell.cityofnewyork.us/en/providers/mct-referral/
Journal of Emergency Medical Services. https://www.jems.com/2020/11/10/new-mental-health-teams-to-respondto-mental-health-crises-in-ny/