Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification

Glossary of Terms

1. “Adult” means an individual who is 18 years of age or older.

2. “Beneficiary/Recipient” means an individual who receives peer services from a Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist.

3. “California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA)” means CalMHSA is the certifying entity approved by the California Department of Health Care Services to certify peer support specialist, peer support specialist training entities, peer support specialist continuing education providers.

4. “Certificant” means an individual who has been certified as a Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist by CalMHSA.

5. “Certification” means all requirements of a Medi-Cal Peer Support
Specialist have been met.

6. Certified Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist (CMPSS)” is an individual who is 18 years of age or older, who has self-identified as having lived experience with the process of recovery from mental illness, substance use disorder, or both, either as a consumer of these services or as a parent or family member of the consumer, and who has been granted certification under a county Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist certification program.

7. “Certifying Entity” indicates CalMHSA, the organization selected by California Counties, with a plan approved by the Department of Health Care Services, to certify Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialists, including components such as training entities and continued education providers.

8.  “Code of Ethics” means a set of guidelines a certified Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist in California adheres to around their roles and responsibilities and levels of responsibility in which they function professionally.

9. “Continued Education” refers to the education a Certificant receives to further develop their professional knowledge around best practices, updated laws, and/or specialized training.

10. “Core Competencies” refers to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) definition, “clusters of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes a person needs to have to successfully perform a role or job”.

11. “County Reciprocity” refers to the recognition of an individual who has received certification as a Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist in any participating county, beyond the one in which they originally received their certification.

12. “Culturally Appropriate Services” means a certified Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist is promoting engagement in a manner that best aligns with the cultural beliefs and practices of the person they serve.

13. “Dual Relationship” is defined as a Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist’s non-therapeutic relationship with a recipient of care. It includes any activity identified as not allowed within the Code of Ethics.

14. “Grandparenting Process” is the process by which an individual who is employed as a peer on January 1, 2022, or prior to that date, are
eligible to seek certification as a Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist so long as they meet the eligibility criteria and successfully pass the state-approved exam.

15. “Initial Certification” is the process for an applicant to become certified as a Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist for the first time so long as they meet the eligibility criteria and successfully pass the state-approved exam.

16. “Lived Experience” refers to an individual’s first-hand experience with a mental health and/or substance use disorder.

17. “Medi-Cal” is California’s Medicaid health care program that includes a variety of medical services for children and adults with a qualifying income or medical condition.

18. “Natural Supports” refers to the personal connections to an individual’s community that enhances the quality of their life.

19. “Out-of-State Reciprocity” refers to the recognition that an individual has received certification for peer support from another state and they meet the qualifications specified under the policies in this document.

20. “Peer” refers to persons who share similar understanding of experiences with mental health and/or substance use disorders.

21. “Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Services” means culturally appropriate services that promote engagement, socialization, recovery, self-sufficiency, self-advocacy, development of natural supports, and identification of strengths. Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist services include, but are not limited to, prevention services, support, coaching, facilitation, or education that is individualized and is conducted by a certified Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist.

22. “Prevalent Languages” means a non-English language identified by the California Department of Health Care Services as a threshold language under the state’s Medi-Cal programs.

23. “Renewal” refers to meeting the requirements set forth in this policy for renewal of one’s Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist certification. The renewal occurs in two-year intervals.

24. “Recovery” means a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. This process of change recognizes cultural diversity and inclusion and honors the different routes to resilience and recovery based on the individual and their cultural community.

25. “Resiliency” is an individual’s capacity to successfully meet life’s challenges, nurtured to have a sense of self-determination, mastery and hope.

26. “Training Entity” is an organization that has received approval from the Certifying Entity to provide training for the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist certification program.

27. “Training Method” refers to the format and delivery style of educational courses. It encompasses various approaches to instruction, including in-person, online, hybrid, and asynchronous, each tailored to different learning environments and schedules.

  • In-Person: Courses taught onsite at scheduled times, allowing students to interact directly with instructors and classmates in person.
  • Online: Courses that include designated times for interactive experiences, virtual break-out rooms, written assignments, and “virtual-live” or pre-recorded presentations by students.
  • Hybrid: Courses that combine onsite in-person activities with online work or instructions. These courses split time between in-person and virtual environments. Participants engage in both in-person sessions at designated times and virtual learning activities, which may be synchronous or asynchronous.
  • Asynchronous: Courses that are self-paced, allowing individuals to learn on their own schedule within a specified period. Participants use provided learning elements, such as online audio and video and discussion forums, at their convenience.

28. “Trauma Focused” refers to maintaining awareness of the impact traumatic experiences may have on an individual and the influence this trauma may have on the choices they make in their life.

29. “Valid Certificate” means a certificate that is active, in good standing, and is not expired, suspended, revoked or inactive.

30. “Wellness” is the conscious and deliberate process of creating and adapting patterns of behavior that lead to improved health in the following dimensions: emotional, financial, social, spiritual, educational/occupational, physical, intellectual, and environmental.