Newsletter Article

Nearly 600 Peer Specialists Certified for Medi-Cal Reimbursement

Key staff: Lucero Robles, LCSW, Director, Quality Assurance

Certifying peer support specialists so they can be eligible for Medi-Cal reimbursement through county mental health and substance use disorder plans is an important step in the delivery of behavioral health care. As the program’s certifying entity, CalMHSA continues to expand the program to uplift the voice of peers, expand access to care, and assist counties with their workforce needs.

Since the program’s inception in 2022:

  • 575 peers have been certified
  • 923 have been approved for exam
  • More than 1,200 are currently in training

CalMHSA’s role is to create a uniform process across the state — one that does not require peers to obtain multiple certifications in multiple counties, supports quality and application of standards, creates efficiency for counties, and adds credibility to the peer profession in California. Latest developments include:

  • Free supervision training: At no cost to counties, this training is derived from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s foundational training for best practices for the supervision of peer workers.
  • Certificant registry: This repository allows users to search for Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialists and verify professional certification.
  • Core competencies for areas of specialization: Through community feedback on three main areas of specialization, CalMHSA is in the final stages of developing core competencies for peer specialists who wish to add any of these specialization areas to their training: crisis care, persons who are unhoused, and persons who are justice involved.
  • Applications for new training providers: Trainings must provide a minimum of 80 hours and cover all 17 areas of competency.

While peers have and will continue to lend their expertise in a variety of ways to support county behavioral health plans, Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialists are responsible for adhering to Medi-Cal operational and reimbursement standards and processes, requiring specific training and certification.

For a full overview of the program and CalMHSA’s role as the certifying

March 28, 2023