SB 803 establishes a Peer Support Specialist certification program for behavioral health services and adds peer support services as a Medi-Cal covered benefit for counties that choose to provide this important service.
California peers all over the state must feel a lot more validated now for the contributions that they have been making and make toward mental health and wellness.
Peers have been working on systemic recognition of the value of peer support services, not only for the four years that peer certification bills have been introduced into the legislature, but long before. You could say, from the time they informally provided mutual support for each other and realized their potential for helping each other, peers have envisioned and worked toward this.
Thank you, Governor Newsom, for signing SB803 and Senator Beall for authoring the bill! Watch the signing of SB803 (along with three other bills) during a session recorded LIVE the morning of September 25.
SB 803 (Beall) – Peer Support Specialist Certification Program passed the Senate on Special Consent 39 – 0 on Wednesday June 24. The bill is now in the Assembly, and will go to the Assembly Health Committee.
Write your support letters NOW, if you haven’t already. Please see attached template Support Letter, CAMHPRO’s Floor Alert, and Senator Beall’s SB 803 Fact Sheet.
State Peer/Family Certification 2nd Thursday at 12 noon
Please join us each month on the 2nd Thursday, at noon. CAMHPRO is changing the format of this monthly webinar again with a quarterly rotation of a Spotlight with a Guest Presenter of Model Peer Support Practices, Peer Support 4 Peer Supporters with a Guest Co-Facilitator, and Updates on CA Peer Certification.
We will invite other counties/agencies or states to present on their peer specialist service practices to demonstrate what is working and what is possible for the State of California. We will also provide policy updates, progress and funding as they happen regarding national and state peer specialist standardization or certification.
California is the last of a handful of states without a State protocol for certification of peer support specialists!
Join the conversation!
These CAMHPRO webinars are funded by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) under the State Consumer Network grant.
The FULL TEXT and ongoing status of the CA SB 803 (Beall-D) can be found and tracked at the following website: CA Legislative Information Click on ‘TRACK’, Create account with email and password only to choose to receive notices whenever there is action on the bill, for example it is in read on the CA Senate Floor, in Committee, passed, etc.
Information from the California Senate:Health Committee on hearings in today’s coronavirus environment.
Committee Website Teleconference Instructions:
Due to the statewide stay-at-home order and guidance on physical distancing, seating for committee hearings will be very limited for press and for the public. All are encouraged to watch our hearing from its live stream on the Senate’s website at https://www.senate.ca.gov/
We encourage the public to submit written testimony before the hearing through the position letter portal. Please note that any written testimony submitted to the committee is considered public comment and may be read into the record or reprinted.
The Capitol will be open for attendance of committee hearings, but the public is strongly encouraged to participate via the web portal or telephonically.
Information regarding a call-in option for testimony will be made available and updated the night prior to the hearing date.
Please note: In order for your testimony to be heard clearly, you must mute any devices you are using to live stream the committee hearing prior to calling into the teleconference service.
February 19, 2020
The Honorable Jim Beall
California State Senator
California State Capitol, Room 2082
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: SB 803 (Beall): Mental health services: peer support specialist certification – SUPPORT
Dear Senator Beall: The California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations (CAMHPRO) supports Senate Bill 806, which would establish a statewide certification program for peer support specialists and would provide the structure needed to maximize the federal match for peer services under Medi-Cal. CAMHPRO is proud to be a co-sponsor of SB 803.
CAMHPRO promotes the work and missions of peer-run organizations devoted to advocacy and empowerment for mental health consumers. CAMHPRO’s mission is to transform communities and the behavioral health care system throughout California to empower, support, and ensure the rights of consumers; eliminate stigma, and advance self-determination for all those affected by mental health issues.
In supporting a Peer Support Specialist Certification Program in California, CAMHPRO joins the formidable array of California organizations, counties and individuals advocating for growth in high quality peer/family support services and peer specialist career development. Through support of SB 803, we look to finally bring peer support specialist certification to California.
Programmatically, peer certification makes sense
Numerous research studies support the efficacy and cost effectiveness of peer specialist services. Peer services, as opposed to traditional services alone, lead to less inpatient services, decreased symptoms, increased coping skills and life satisfaction, reduced overall ongoing need for mental health services, and decreased substance use.
Across California, peers are already providing peer support services. However, there is no statewide scope of practice, standardized curriculum, training standards, supervision standards, or certification protocol. Few counties that provide peer support services require training prior to hire. The benefits of Peer Certification for peer support are obvious.
Defines the service of peer support;
Provides a standardized scope of practice, values and ethics, and competencies;
Assures that practitioners receive standardized training and demonstrate competency;
Ensures that service recipients will receive the same quality of services regardless of where in California they live;
Provides a basis for the ability to bill Medi-Cal for services provided; and
Allows for portability of Certification between counties.
Peer Certification also makes good fiscal sense, and California is one of only two states in the nation without it.
In 2007, the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent a guidance letter to all State Medicaid Directors emphasizing, “peer support services are an evidence-based mental health model of care which consists of a qualified peer support provider who assists individuals with their recovery from mental illness and substance use disorders.” CMS encouraged states to establish a state certification process for training, credentialing, supervision and care coordination. (CMS, SMDL #07-011). This enables the use of federal Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) financial participation with a 50% match. Currently, 48 states, plus the District of Columbia and the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs, have implemented protocols to certify peer specialists, enabling them to leverage Medicaid funds. However, California has not acted and Californians deserve better!
Initially funded by Department of Mental Health and then Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), California began an in-depth and focused look at peer certification in 2011.Substantial grassroots work has been done toward peer certification since 2012 and substantial government funds have already been invested into developing peer certification in California.
SB 803 makes sense from both a policy and fiscal perspective and will provide more comprehensive assistance to people in need. CAMHPRO is proud to be part of a statewide movement to bring California up to speed with the rest of the nation in recovery and resiliency services through a state protocol for Medi-CAL billing and certification of peer support specialists.