SECTION 1. There shall be a special commission to investigate, study, and evaluate the scope of mental health peer support programs in all regions of the commonwealth to determine the scope of peer programs, classification and types of peer specialists and appropriate training and certification requirements for such programs. The commission shall consist of the co-chairs of the joint committee on mental health and substance abuse, who shall serve as co-chairs of the commission; the secretary of health and human services or a medical professional; the commissioner of mental health or a designee; the commissioner of public health or a designee; the director of Medicaid or a designee; 1 representative appointed by the commissioner of the Massachusetts rehabilitation commission or a designee; 1 representative from the Transformation Center, a statewide peer-job training organization; 1 representative from the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership, a statewide behavioral health managed care company; 1 representative from the Association for Behavioral Healthcare, a community services organization; 1 representative from the National Alliance on Mental Illness Massachusetts, a statewide organization representing people with mental illness and their families; and 1 family member of a mental health consumer appointed by the co-chairs of the commission.
The commission study shall include, but not be limited to, an examination and identification of best practices related to training and credential requirements for peer specialist programs, including: (1) types and categories of services provided by peer programs, including support, rehabilitation and clinical programs; (2) types and categories of services that require certification; (3) supervision required for categories of services that require certification; (4) hours of formal work or volunteer experience related to mental health and substance use disorders conducted through such programs; (5) types of peer-support specialist exams required for such programs; (6) codes of ethics used by such programs; (7) required or recommended skill sets for such programs; (8) requirements for continuing education; (9) any other criteria necessary to develop peer specialist certification requirements; and (10) best practices from other states.
The commission shall submit its findings and recommendations, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry those recommendations into effect by filing the same with the clerks of the house of representatives and senate, to the department of mental health and the joint committee on mental health and substance abuse not later than 1 year after the enactment of this act.
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