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PEER SUPPORT SERVICES FOR OLDER ADULTS. Background Information. Peer Services in PA February 2007 OMHSAS received approval from CMS to include peer support services as a component of rehabilitative services under the state’s Medicaid State Plan

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background information
Background Information
  • Peer Services in PA
    • February 2007 OMHSAS received approval from CMS to include peer support services as a component of rehabilitative services under the state’s Medicaid State Plan
    • As of October 2007, 493 peer specialists have successfully completed the required training curriculum and are certified to provide peer services under Medicaid
background information3
Background Information
  • As a required service within PA’s Behavioral Health Managed Care System, HealthChoices, a choice of two Peer Support Service providers must be available within easy access to individuals anywhere in the state who are in need of this service.
context for initiative
Context for Initiative
  • Persons aged 65 and older represent the fastest growing age group in the United States
  • Pennsylvania has the third highest percentage of older adults in the nation
  • Several studies indicate that 10% to 30% of the elderly population has a mental health disorder
context for initiative5
Context for Initiative
  • The elderly are less likely to seek treatment from mental health professionals due to stigma.
  • Older adults with behavioral health disorders who do not receive treatment are at increased risk of hospitalization, reduced physical functioning and mortality.
peer program development
Peer Program Development
  • One method to engage older adults and avoid the stigma of participating in mental health programs has been the development of peer support programs
  • These have been effective for three reasons:
    • Stigma is reduced because of the use of peers as counselors
peer program development7
Peer Program Development
  • Older adults believe that similarly aged paraprofessionals understand their challenges because they share a common generational experience, and
  • The intervention is usually offered in the community rather than within a healthcare or traditional mental health setting.
peer support training
Peer Support Training
  • Prepares individuals who self identify as having used mental health services to provide support to others.
  • Has received national attention as a critical intervention through both the Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health (1999) and the President’s New Freedom Commission (2003)
peer support training9
Peer Support Training
  • At this time, seven states have been approved to provide peer services under Medicaid
  • Other states are poised to offer the service as Medicaid reimbursable in the near future.
overview of project
Overview of Project
  • The Older Adult Peer Specialist Initiative has six goals:
    • Develop an “Older Adult Peer Support Competent” one day curriculum
    • Develop an “Older Adult Peer Support Enhanced” three day curriculum
    • Recruit 20 Peer Specialists (50+) to work with older adults
overview of project11
Overview of Project
  • Pilot the 3 day Older Adult Peer Support Enhanced curriculum in Harrisburg, PA with 20 older adult peer specialists
  • Pilot 4 regional 1 day Older Adult Peer Support Competent trainings (20 per class) and
  • Create specialized work opportunities for Peer Specialists who completed the enhanced older adult curriculum
  • Currently being developed
  • Will qualify as continuing education for certified peer specialists
    • One day curriculum will provide 4-7 hours
    • Three day curriculum will provide 21 hours
  • Older adults (50+) are being recruited to provide peer services to older adults
  • 20% of current CPS are 50+
  • OMHSAS will work closely with Counties, and managed care organizations to obtain commitments to hiring Older Adult Peer Specialists within their local service systems.
pilot training program
Pilot Training Program
  • One day training will be provided in four locations of the state, including Pittsburgh
  • Three day training will be piloted in Harrisburg for 20 peer specialists who have expressed an interest in providing peer support to older adults.
workforce opportunities
Workforce Opportunities
  • OMHSAS has issued an announcement of the project to counties, managed care organizations and providers asking them to develop specialized Peer Support Services for older adults.
  • Referrals of peers for training from these agencies/counties will be prioritized
  • Websites created by PA trainers will be used to match peers with job positions
  • Increase access to services for older adults
  • Decrease isolation for older adults with depression
  • Create a support network for older adults
  • Increase the availability of older adult peer specialists and services
  • Create innovative delivery of services in non-traditional settings and by non-traditional providers
  • Increase linkages between the mental health and aging systems
  • Increase the competencies of Peer Specialists statewide
  • Provide mental health prevention services through the training and social marketing inherent in the training sessions.