Peer Certification

In 2020, California passed a law (Senate Bill 803) that makes it possible for certified peer support specialists to be eligible for Medi-Cal reimbursement through county mental health plans and substance use disorder plans (behavioral health plans). This important step in the delivery of behavioral health care values the experience that peers — persons with lived experience — can provide and expands counties’ capacity to care for those who need them. For details on training, certification, examination, applying and more, visit capeercertification.org.

County behavioral health plans selected CalMHSA to implement a single, standardized Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist certification program. This was done in recognition of the need for 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. Key program activities include:

  • Creating and implementing the certification program, approving training entities, certifying persons, conducting investigations, and collecting data
  • Administering and disbursing scholarships
  • Monitoring program activities, evaluation, and quality assurance; processing complaints and appeals

Program Overview

First Cohort of Peer Support Specialists Certified

CalMHSA is pleased to announce that the first group of peer support specialists was certified in late November. The initial certification exam, which includes core competencies developed in collaboration with the peers community, was administered to approximately 140 individuals from 24 counties; more than 90% passed.

Scholarships

The Department of Health Care Services has allocated limited funding for scholarships for peers seeking certification, available only to counties that have elected to implement the peer support benefit. Participating counties have identified individuals for scholarships within their respected county who are currently employed or working within their mental health or behavioral health plans, including their contract provider network. Scholarship applications are due by Dec. 31, 2022.

Grandparenting Process

California recognizes that peers have long functioned as a part of the prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery process for individuals living with mental health conditions and/or substance use disorders. The grandparenting process takes a person’s work experience and training into consideration for meeting the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist certification. The application deadline has been extended to June 30, 2023.

Initial Certification

Individuals not eligible for the grandparenting process but interested in becoming certified as a Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist may also apply through the initial certification process.

Areas of Specialization

Specialized training — to support individuals who are unhoused, justice-involved, or in need of crisis services, and for parent/caregiver/family member peers — will also be available. However, those areas of specialization are not required for certification as a Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist.

 

Reports

 

Medi-Cal Peer Certification Stakeholder Advisory Council

Recognizing the need for input from peers and other stakeholders to implement a Peer Support Specialist certification program, CalMHSA established a Stakeholder Advisory Council that makes recommendations on behalf of a variety of stakeholder groups. The development and selection of the Advisory Council members was conducted in collaboration with the California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations on behalf of DHCS. Advisory Council members were selected through an application process, and the membership reflects the Medi-Cal populations served by the county specialty plans. Wherever possible, Advisory Council members represent underrepresented or difficult-to-engage communities. CalMHSA values continuous quality improvement; the Advisory Council will serve as an avenue for ongoing feedback during the implementation phase and beyond.

Stakeholder Advisory Committee MeetingsTimeWebinar LinksDial-In InformationAgendas/Notes
Friday, October 21, 20221:00-2:15PMZoomDial-in 1-699-900-9128
Webinar ID: 843 6141 4645
Agenda/Notes
Friday, November 18th, 20221:00-2:15PMZoomDial-in 1-699-900-9128
Webinar ID: 843 6141 4645
Agenda/Notes
Friday, December 16, 20221:00-2:00PMZoomDial-in: 1-669-900-9128
Webinar ID: 843 6141 4645
Agenda/Notes
Friday, January 20, 20231:00-2:00PMZoomDial-in: 1-669-900-9128
Webinar ID: 843 6141 4645
Agenda

Council MemberOrganizationCountyRegionRepresented CountiesProvide Feedback
Roberto RomanContra Costa Behavioral HealthContra CostaBay AreaAlameda, City of Berkeley, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, SonomaBay Area Region Feedback
Iris Allen-WillisCommunity Action MarinMarin
Patricia BarrettSan Joaquin CountySan JoaquinCentralAlpine, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Inyo, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Sutter-Yuba, Tulare, Tuolumne, YoloCentral Region Feedback
David BainNAMI SacramentoSacramento
Clarene Marie WhiteCook N Up Excellence Collective LLCFresno
Martha ContrerasSycamoresLos AngelesLos AngelesLos Angeles, Tri-CityLos Angeles Region Feedback
Min SuhOrange CountyOrangeSouthernImperial, Kern, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, VenturaSouthern Region Feedback
Kristen MungcalClubhouse Expansion ProgramSan Bernardino
Karin LettauCAMHPROSan Diego
Maria ArteagaSanta Barbara CountySanta Barbara
Carrie ManningLake County Behavioral HealthLakeSuperiorButte, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity Superior Region Feedback
Adelaida MooreSunrays of HopeModoc

 

Questions or comments? [email protected]In 2020, California passed a law (Senate Bill 803) that makes it possible for certified peer support specialists to be eligible for Medi-Cal reimbursement through county mental health plans and substance use disorder plans (behavioral health plans). This important step in the delivery of behavioral health care values the experience that peers — persons with lived experience — can provide and expands counties’ capacity to care for those who need them.