For details on training, certification, examination, applying and more, visit capeercertification.org.
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.
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
- The Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification Registry is now available.
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.
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.