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HB 337- Behavioral health terms

HB 337- Behavioral health terms

Phil Haunschild
January 30, 2018

Bill Description: This bill would define what it means to work as a “family support partner,” “peer support specialist,” or “recovery coach” working in behavioral health.

Rating: -1

Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market? 

HB 337 would define what it means to work in supportive services for the behavioral health field in Idaho. The new definition would include "ancillary non-clinical services," provided by family support partners, peer support specialists, or recovery coaches. The Department of Health and Welfare does already issue certifications for these positions. This certification requires applicants to go through training offered by the department or affiliate organizations and provide the applicant's work and personal experience relevant to the field.

The definitions that HB 337  codifies would require these individuals working in the supportive services to have “specialized training.” The department would determine what qualifies as specialized. Thus, the department would be able to continue to mandate all individuals intending to work in these positions go through the courses that the department offers because its courses are the only ones “specialized” enough.

Each individual in this field provides a crucial service in behavioral health. To require a certification to provide these services would bar individuals who do not have either the time or the money to go through the process at the Department of Health and Welfare from working in their field even if they have they have gathered the requisite experience throughout their life. Especially in positions such as these, which are there to provide the real lived experience of these support partners and coaches as a resource to those who are in need, this certification and the barrier it creates are detrimental. 

This would make it more difficult to offer supportive services as these individuals work in the behavioral health field.


Update: This analysis was updated on January 31 to better reflect the impact this legislation will have on providers of these services.

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