Senator Ron Wyden has proposed a national alternative to using police as first responders to mental health crises. The CAHOOTS Act is modeled after Eugene’s eponymous program, operated by the White Bird Clinic. CAHOOTS is also the inspiration for Portland Street Response. The nation-wide program would provide 95% Medicaid match for local municipalities that implement such a program.
OREGONLIVE.com / The Oregonian reports that
Cahoots fields about 20% of all calls to 911 and the non-emergency line in the greater Eugene area.
In 2018, of the 22,000 calls that Cahoots responded to, less than 150 led to Cahoots requesting police for backup.
Program leaders estimate it saves $7 million annually in medical costs because the so many of the people the non-police teams help would otherwise end up in emergency rooms.
Read OREGONLIVE’s full article here.
Read Senator Wyden’s statement here. There are links to a summary of the bill and the complete legislative text at the end of his statement.