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Thursday, 14 December 2017

Celebrating Our Success!

The Department of Mental Health Releases the New CBFS RFR
 
The amount of change that someone in a peer role is trying to take on can often feel overwhelming. And too many times, it can feel like our voice is getting sidelined or humored, but ultimately ignored. However, here’s a situation where it feels like we really got heard!
 
In June of 2017, many individuals working in peer roles (and their allies) across the state came together to  respond to a Request for Information (RFI) from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH), and make a direct ask for how they wanted peer roles to be defined and supported in the new Community Based Flexible Support (CBFS) contracts. You can view that response by CLICKING HERE!
 
Based on past experiences, many of us were skeptical about the likelihood that we would be heard. However, on Friday, November 10, 2017, DMH released the Request for Response (RFR—the actual notice of the contract going out for bid, and invitation to organizations to submit proposals) that demonstrated just how much we had been heard. Some of our primary asks included:
  • Require that providers implement peer roles in alignment with the Certified Peer Specialist Code of Ethics
  • Prohibit providers from involving people in peer roles with the administration of psychiatric drugs
  • Prohibit providers from involving people in peer roles in the management of rep-payeeships (oversight and control of someone’s funds)
Here is just an excerpt from the actual RFR:
 
7.5       Peer Roles
Contractors must take appropriate steps to support Peer Staff in performing their unique roles and ensuring that job functions are consistent with the Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) and other applicable Code of Ethics.
a. MAP.  Peer Staff do not participate in the Medication Administration Program and are not MAP trained.  Peer Staff may support Persons with whom they are working with support in making decisions about medications when asked.
b. Representative Payee. Peer Staff do not serve as Representative Payees, including the delivery of funds or participating in any activities related to the control of a Person’s funds.
c. Documentation.  Documentation completed by a Certified Peer Specialist is to be done in accordance with CPS training standards. 
d. Supervision and Support of Peer Roles.  Peer Specialists are supported in accessing opportunities for peer supervision, training and consultation.   
 
Why is this so important? CBFS (now called ‘Adult Community Clinical Services’ or ‘ACCS’) is the largest DMH contract providing community services in the state. That DMH has chosen to define peer roles in this way for this contract has huge implications for us all. It also has implications for our ability to truly be heard if we all come together with one voice. This is something we should be sure to remember for the future.
 
In the meantime, thank you to everyone who signed on to the RFI letter cited above, to the Eastern Mass Peer Network for adapting our letter and engaging in a similar effort in the Eastern part of the state, and to everyone at DMH for taking the time to hear us out. You can access the full text of the new RFR here: www.westernmassrlc.org/cbfs-rfr

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