Is peer support an evidence-based practice?

Yes, peer support is an evidence-based practice. An evidence-based practice is a combination of the best research evidence, clinical expertise, and patient values.

In a letter dated August 15, 2007, the Director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations (a department of CMS) declared peer support services “an evidence-based mental health model of care which consists of a qualified peer support provider who assists individuals with their recovery from mental illness and substance use disorders.” The letter also outlined the authority of state Medicaid agencies to determine the service delivery system, medical necessity criteria, and to define the amount, duration, and scope of the services.

The letter further states, “CMS recognizes that the experiences of peer support providers, as consumers of mental health and substance use services, can be an important component in a State’s delivery of effective treatment. CMS is reaffirming its commitment to State flexibility, increased innovation, consumer choice, self-direction, recovery, and consumer protection through approval of these services.”

Read the full letter from the Director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations here.

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