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Consumer Advocacy Enhanced

Horizon Healthcare Partners has emerged as a vocal advocate for greater inclusion of mental health clients or “consumers” in the design, delivery, and oversight of community mental health services.

Horizon Healthcare Partners has reacted to mergers that have resulted in: larger organizations, smaller Boards, and fewer Directors with personal or family experience with behavioral health issues.  Horizon, in Publick Occurrences and in news releases, has been calling for more substantial and required representation of “people in recovery,” both in the mental health workforce and on the Boards of state and federally certified CMHCs.

Horizon announced recently that it has created a HHP Consumer Advisory Council of people in recovery, including many former CMHC clients employed as Recovery Support Specialists or Peer Advocates.  Two issues of paramount concern for these advocates are: the lack of state or federal funding for mental health services for individuals who are underinsured or uninsured and the lack of health plan reimbursement for peer support services.

The second announcement by Horizon Healthcare Partners was that all of its “Recovery Support Specialist” graduates have passed the State of Rhode Island certification process and most have been employed in part time positions by one of the community-based mental health organizations.

Stephens noted:  “The curriculum was developed by the Peer Support Center in Woonsocket and Community Care Alliance.  The training was sponsored by Horizon Healthcare Partners, the Alive Center, and our member CMHOs.  We are grateful to the State of Rhode Island Division of Behavioral Healthcare for developing the exam and certification process. This collaboration has resulted in adding these ‘peer advocates’ to local mental health teams and taking another step toward a more recovery-oriented system of care.”