Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez Announces Peer Advocate Certificate in NYS



June 19, 2013

Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez Announces Peer Advocate Certificate in NYS

New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez is pleased to announce that the Florida Certification Board (FCB) has been approved to offer a Peer Advocate Certificate in NYS.

Peer Advocates certified by the FCB will be able to offer peer services in OASAS Certified Outpatient Treatment settings and be reimbursed by Medicaid for such services. One of the first tasks that the FCB will undertake is to establish a New York-Based Advisory Board of subject matter experts who will work hand-in-hand with the FCB to develop Peer Advocate certification, application, testing and review processes. As part of the formal agreement between OASAS and the FCB, the FCB has committed to begin certifying Peer Advocates in NYS within six months.

Commissioner González-Sánchez stated, “This partnership with the Florida Certification Board is an important step for OASAS to further promote a recovery oriented system of care (ROSC) in New York State. It is essential that our system have peer advocates involved in the treatment and recovery process to provide hope as well as life-long community-based services to sustain long-term recovery.”

The FCB has been in operation for 30 years and formally incorporated since 1985. They also provide certifications and testing services for other states including California, Michigan and Illinois. The FCB sets standards for and certifies individuals in various levels of professional occupations including: the addictions arenas of treatment, prevention and criminal justice; mental health including behavioral health peer services; gambling and child welfare.

Neal McGarry, Executive Director of the FCB stated, “The Florida Certification Board is very pleased to be partnering with OASAS in the delivery of certification services for Peer Advocates. It is our intent to assist OASAS in raising the standards of care and professional recognition for Peer Advocates throughout the State of New York. Moving forward in this venture, the FCB will be operating as the “New York Certification Association – Council of Peer Advocates.”

The total number individuals currently credentialed by the FCB, across all professions, is 15,300. Additionally, from April 2012 to September 2012 the FCB operated one of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA’s) Addiction Technology Transfer Centers (ATTC) known as the Southern Coast ATTC whose primary purpose was to provide training, technical assistance and products to transform services, systems and policies to recovery-oriented systems of care (ROSC).

And for all New Yorkers struggling with an addiction—or whose loved ones are struggling—help and hope are available. The State’s toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day a week HOPEline, 1-877-8-HOPENY, is staffed by trained clinicians who are ready to answer questions, offer treatment referrals, and provide other vital resources to facilitate that first step into recovery.

OASAS oversees one of the nation’s largest addiction services systems dedicated to Prevention, Treatment and Recovery, with nearly 1,600 programs serving over 100,000 New Yorkers on any given day.

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