PRESS RELEASE: New Peer Certification Bill SB 803 Introduced

SB 803 (Beall) PRESS RELEASE

Principle author Senator Jim Beall,  Principal Co-author Assemblymember Marie Waldron, Co-authors Senator Wiener and Senator Wilk Assembly members Aguiar-Curry, Arambula Aguiar-Curry, Grayson, Ramos and Wicks  CAMHPRO a co sponsor

SB 803 Fact Sheet

SB 803 Peers Press Release January 8 2020

Senator Jim Beall Champions Mental Health Legislation to Certify Peers

Today, long-time mental health champion Senator Jim Beall introduced legislation SB 803 to create state certification for mental health care providers known as Peer Support Specialists.

Last year, Senator Beall’s bipartisan effort, SB 10, made it to the Governor’s desk with unanimous votes, where it was vetoed. Sen. Beall is reintroducing this legislative initiative as an effort to make strategic, cost-effective reforms to California’s mental health programs.

“Statewide certification of Peer Support Specialists will ultimately save the state money while improving mental health outcomes. The Governor and I have the same goals- help people and use our resources wisely. SB 803 will improve our system in an ongoing, sustainable way.”

A peer is a person who draws on lived experience with mental illness and/or substance use disorder and recovery, bolstered by specialized training, to deliver valuable support services in a mental health and/or substance use setting. “It is time that peers are validated as an essential and professional part of the behavioral health workforce” asserts Sally Zinman, Executive Director of California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations (CAMHPRO).

The state is facing a shortage of qualified mental health professionals to ensure all Californians receive care. Peer Support Specialists are a much needed addition to the workforce.

Dr. Jonathan Sherin, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, emphasized that LA County is ready to take action. “LA County looks to expand upon and professionalize its peer support programs in a sustainable manner which will not be possible until we secure statewide certification and a reliable reimbursement mechanism. Leveraging lived experience through peer support is critical to the service transformation we need in California. The state must make the most of every resource available to address our mental health crisis; recognizing and resourcing Peer Support Specialists statewide will be a wise investment.”

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and 48 states have a certification process in place or in development for mental health peer support specialists. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released guidance in 2007 for establishing a certification program for peers to enable the use of federal Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) financial participation with a 50% match.

Studies show that peers contribute to the ability of people with mental illness and substance abuse to obtain education and employment, contributing to the California economy rather than depending on social safety nets alone.

“Research demonstrates that the utilization of qualified peer support specialists has measurable benefits to clients including reduced hospitalizations, improved functioning, and alleviation of depression and other symptoms. The time has come for California to embrace peer support as an evidence-based model and put in place a certification program that will standardize best practices” stated Maggie Merritt, Executive Director of the Steinberg Institute, a Sacramento-based non-profit mental health public policy institute.

In California, demand for peer services is growing, but there is no statewide scope of practice, training standards, supervision standards, or certification.

 “California has an important opportunity to deliver quality, cost-effective, evidence-based mental health services and add diversity to our mental health workforce by certifying Peer Support Specialists,” said Michelle Doty Cabrera, executive director of the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California (CBHDA).  “While California faces a severe shortage of mental health professionals needed to serve our diverse communities, the specific services delivered by trained, supervised peers have shown to improve client outcomes and reduce costs at the same time.  But California can only realize these benefits for our mental health clients in Medi-Cal if we join the 48 states that have already recognized the effectiveness of Peer Support Services through certification.” 

SB 803, The Peer Support Specialist Certification Act of 2020 establishes a statewide certification program for peer support specialists and provides the structure needed to maximize the federal match for peer services under Medi-Cal.

The legislation is applauded by a broad and large coalition of supporters, and is sponsored by California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations, County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California, County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, and Steinberg Institute.

FIRST ONSITE PEER ACTION LEAGUE MEMBERS (PALMs) REGIONAL FORUM

Monday, September 16th, 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM
(9:30-10:00 sign in & networking)
San Mateo County

  • Connect & Network
  • Build CApacity
  • Reach & Reflect Diversity
  • Strategic Collective Action

REGISTER HERE
Limited Seats — Lunch Provided

KEYNOTES PANEL: The Peer Story in California

CONSTITUENCY PERSPECTIVES PANEL: Youth, Adult, Family of Adult, Parent, Cultural

GROWING PEER SUPPORT IN THE GREATER BAY AREA REGION

COLLABORATIVE GROUP ACTION PLANNING

Who should attendCounty BH Directors, Family, Peers & Peer Run Programs of the Greater Bay Area Regional Counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano & Sonoma) Open to all others.

*If you want to become a Peer Action League Member, please go to:https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/INDIVIDUAL-PAL-APP

OR

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PEER-RUN-PAL-APP

***Advance Notice for translation, interpretation or for accommodations will be honored*** Please contact Karin at klettau7@gmail.com to confirm.

 

Presented by the California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations (CAMHPRO) in partnership and collaboration with Heart & Soul, Inc.
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SB10 Peer Certification Assembly Health Committee 1:30 room 4202

July 2 at 1:30 pm
1315 10th St
Room 4202
Sacramento, CA 95814

 

THIRD READING HISTORY
SENATE RULES COMMITTEE:
Office of Senate Floor Analyses (916) 651-1520
Fax: (916) 327-4478

Bill No: SB 10
Author: Beall (D), et al.
Amended: 5/17/19
Vote: 21

SENATE HEALTH COMMITTEE: 9-0, 3/27/19 AYES: Pan, Stone, Durazo, Grove, Hurtado, Leyva, Mitchell, Monning, Rubio

SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE: 6-0, 5/16/19 AYES: Portantino, Bates, Bradford, Hill, Jones, Wieckowski

SUBJECT: Mental health services: peer support specialist certification

SOURCE: Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors  ~ Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission ~ Steinberg Institute

Message from Senator Beall’s Office

Dear supporters,

Thank you so much for your patience- we have a new Assembly Health committee date for SB 10- Tuesday July 2 at 1:30 pm in room 4202. We will be up first. Please come and show your support- this will be our last policy committee hearing and we want it to be big!

Thank you to all who have sent letters!

SB 906 Peer Cert. VETOED! Persistence is key!

From Sally Zinman, Executive Director, CAMHPRO

Governor Brown has Vetoed SB 906. The consumer and larger mental health stakeholder community will pursue California state certification and, by all accounts, will have a better chance with a new Governor.

Persistence is the key to success, and essential to advocacy. Persistence and hope. We will have peer certification in California!

See the Governor’s veto message (below), which in my opinion, is not knowledgeable of the purpose or content of the bill.

~Sally~

 VETO MESSAGE

Senator Beall's Response to SB 906 Veto.JPG