HB20-1139 (Pelton & Caraveo) Peer Support Professionals Behavioral Health
Peer support professionals are individuals in recovery from mental health/substance use conditions who use their experience to help others to recover. Medicaid currently limits reimbursable peer support services to clinical facilities, which limits access to peer services. This bill seeks to increase access to peer services by improving how peer-delivered services are billed under Medicaid. The bill would create a new designation, Recovery Support Services Organizations (RSSOs), that could provide and bill for peer support services. Organizations that provide recovery-focused services can apply for the RSSO designation through the Department of Human Services. In addition, this bill would create a tax credit for peer specialist returning to post-secondary school to enhance the behavioral health workforce and help eradicate stigma.
The Colorado Children’s Campaign supports this bill as one way to expand access to needed behavioral health services. It will help promote service delivery to pregnant and postpartum individuals by allowing for additional peer coordination with OB/GYN practices. We know that the number of Coloradans who have critical behavioral health needs and lack access to the appropriate care is increasing. In fact, the need has nearly doubled in the last two years. In 2019 Colorado’s behavioral health workforce only met 30 percent of the state’s need. Peer services can reduce hospitalizations, increase engagement in self-care and wellness, and decrease psychotic symptoms.
Died in House Appropriations Committee
January 31, 2020
Assigned to the House Committee of Public Health Care and Human Services where it will be heard on Wednesday Feb. 5 upon adjournment in Room 0112