There are numerous opportunities for advocates to get involved in expanding and strengthening peer support services. DBSA encourages you to visit your state’s Medicaid website to learn whether peer support services are already covered by Medicaid in your state.
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Assess the adequacy of currently covered peer support services:
- Are there limitations on the settings in which peer services can be provided?
- Are peer specialists fully integrated as part of the care team?
- What requirements for accountability, data collection, and quality review are in place, and do any changes need to be made?
- Are there potential opportunities for expanding the role of peers that are not currently covered in the Medicaid state plan?
- Are peers an integral part of the design, implementation, and evaluation of peer support services?
Engage in state-level advocacy to make improvements or expansions to peer support services through Medicaid.
Advocate for high-quality state peer specialist training and certification:
- Is the training/certification process adequate to ensure effective services?
- Is continuing education readily available and accessible for peer specialists?
- Is DBSA’s national training recognized by your state’s certifying body?
If peer support services are not covered in your state, you can:
- reach out to key contacts in your state Medicaid department or state legislature to urge the addition of peer support services to your state plan, and
- work with state officials to develop a state plan amendment or Medicaid waiver that adds peers to the state plan and outlines requirements on training, certification, qualifications, accountability, data collection, and roles/responsibilities for peers.
Ongoing advocacy is also important at the federal level to expand on both the sources of funding and the Medicaid state plan authority that are available to states in utilizing peer support services. Additional flexible funding sources are needed to grow the recovery and whole health outcomes peer support services can deliver. The PEER Act provides a model that is followed by U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The PEER Act is a good example of best practice in using peer support services to assist with integrating mental health and primary/medical care.