Online Program

Meeting people where they're at: Sustaining the values of peer-run organizations while remaining sustainable

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 12:50 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.

Sera Davidow, Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community, Holyoke, MA
This presentation will provide a “view from the field” from a director of a peer-run community (the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community) and reflect on the results of the National Survey of Peer-Run Organizations regarding Medicaid reimbursement. As shown in the study results, and as discussed by the first two presenters, the expansion of Medicaid coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act will lead to many challenges. People who participate in peer-to-peer support communities have the opportunity to connect with others in a non-hierarchical, non-medicalized setting to explore alternative means of thriving in their communities. Those who are paid to facilitate these communities are neither trained in medicalized approaches to emotional, social, or psychological distress, nor is such training essential or helpful to the role of peer support. The presentation will discuss how peer support is currently provided under grant and contract funding, and how that would change with Medicaid reimbursement, including how such changes would threaten the values of peer support by requiring documentation and record-keeping. The presenter will describe challenges with following a model that bills insurance for services delivered from the perspective of someone who must lead an organization and remain sustainable as the funding environment changes with implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Advocacy for health and health education
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe the role, activities, and qualifications of peer-to-peer communities Explain peer support in a non-medicalized model Identify challenges to sustainability posed by Medicaid expansion

Keyword(s): Peer Counselors, Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Director of the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community ( a peer-run organization, which includes Afiya, a Peer Respite. I am also an advocate and activist, an active part of Hearing Voices USA ( and Occupy the Judge Rotenberg Center (, amongst a variety of other projects.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.