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Peer Specialist Services

The Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission received approval from the OMHSAS to become a provider of Certified Peer Specialist Services in April 2008. From that time, the MCBHC has provided Peer Support Services by individuals who are self-identified current or former consumers of mental health services. Consumers of Peer Support Services are inspired to recognize that their recovery goals are attainable. The principles of consumer choice and active involvement by the consumer are considered necessary components of the Peer Support Program.To be eligible for Peer Specialist Services, an individual must consent to the service and meet all of the following criteria:

  • Individuals are 18 years of age or older
  • Individuals meet Serious Mental Illness (SMI) criteria as defined in Mental Health Bulletin OMH-94-04 Serious Mental Illness: Adult Priority Group
  • Must demonstrate moderate to severe functional impairment that interferes with or limits performance in one of the following life domain areas: Educational; Social; Vocational; Self Maintenance
  • The service must be determined as medically necessary and recommended by a licensed practitioner of the healing arts

Individual Peer Specialist Services are provided to participants at their home, the MCBHC office, the county jail, the hospital, a provider agency, the community, or any other setting deemed convenient and appropriate by the individual. Peer Specialists are responsible for promoting the knowledge to access and utilize available services and resources specified in the Individual’s Recovery Plan. With the participant’s consent, the Peer Specialist can work with family, treatment providers, rehabilitative programs and community supports to achieve agreed upon goals. The Peer Specialists provide information to participants and assist them in becoming better educated/knowledgeable in obtaining services as needed.

General Program objectives include a review of the participants’ progress in identifying and developing natural supports and social networks, identifying and developing strategies to increase self-help and self improvement, and identifying any additional areas that the participant feels they need additional support with in order to aide in their recovery.

Expected program outcomes are individualized based on specific participant’s needs. Individual goals are identified as part of the consumer’s Recovery Plan. Peer Specialists assist the participants in identifying targeted time frames for each goal and will follow-up on these during each visit.

A Peer Specialist may attend home visits, treatment service planning meetings, supervision, attending networking meetings, case noting/paperwork, or trainings in a course of a day.


MCBHC Peer Specialist

Program Quality Management Summary

Fiscal Year 20/21

 The MCBHC Peer Specialist program completes quality assurance activities in accordance with section XV. of our Peer Specialist Service Manual and in compliance with Attachment G of the Peer Support Services-Revised Bulletin OMHSAS-16-12.

As stated in the policy, these activities are completed by the program supervisor and mental health professional. Results are shared with BHC administration and program staff. Results are available to the public upon request. Reviews are conducted annually by FY.

Outcome Data:

In FY 20/21 the Peer Specialist program served 73 total consumers.

The program had 32 admissions and 52 discharges in FY 20/21.

During FY 20/21 the program experienced a decrease in staffing from 3 part-time staff (two .5 FTE and one .26 FTE) to 2 part-time staff (one .5 FTE and one .26 FTE)

The program averaged 25 active consumers after the decrease in staffing.

The average length of stay for consumers discharged in FY 20/21 was 5.6 months.

There were no significant trends or changes identified when comparing this outcome data to previous years related to referrals, lengths of stay, age ranges, etc.

Internal MA audit results:

Each FY, the MCBHC completes internal audits of all MA billable programs, including Peer Specialist, to ascertain that units billed meet MA requirements for billable service. Random samples are drawn for an identified review period. These samples are drawn independently from program staff using a method that ensures they are random samples that reflect a valid portion of the total served by the program. These audits are completed by directly reviewing consumer electronic charts.

In FY 20/21 this audit was completed in November and covered a review period of July 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. The review included a sample of 5 charts that included 172 billable units and 38 progress notes. The full summary scoring sheet is attached that outlines the 17 measurable items that were reviewed. The audit did not result in any identified units that needed voided or billed incorrectly. 3 progress notes were identified as potentially needing more content to support the amount of units billed. These were addressed with the staff through supervision to promote future improvement with documentation and revisions to the chart were made. There was one error in identifying the service location which was also addressed and one “purpose of the contact” needed to be better defined. Overall, the results of the audit were rather positive.

Consumer Satisfaction:

Each FY, CFST consumer satisfaction surveys are completed by Grapevine Center, Mercer County’s independent contracted CFST provider. Each year the Peer Specialists encourage consumers to engage with Grapevine Center to complete satisfaction surveys. The program objective is to have a sample size of 10-20 consumers each year.

In FY 20-21, Grapevine Center completed 14 surveys of consumers receiving Peer Specialist services through the MCBHC which was within the target range. Questions that were specific to Peer Specialist services were 100% satisfaction and overall satisfaction of Peer consumers (including therapist, doctor, or other staff you are seeing) was 93%.

The complete report submitted by Grapevine Center is attached.

Grapevine did not identify any trends or areas below 84% that required a plan of correction or corrective action.

Internal review of these results did not result in any needed policy changes or actions implemented.

Actions Needed:

No specific quality assurances actions are noted as needed at this time.

Peer Supervisor will continue to monitor and address service documentation through supervision.

Continued consumer satisfaction will be done through Grapevine.

The program is currently operating with a vacancy in staffing and is unable to identify qualified candidates for employment. Continued recruitment efforts will occur to fill this vacancy.

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