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The Evolution Of Peer Mentor Training Programs For People With I/DD — A North Carolina Case Study

July 14, 2022

Optum’s Senior Director of Behavioral Health, Medicaid Complex Population Development, Tracy Sanders, and Kelly Friedlander, principal consultant at Community Bridges Consulting Group, will share current peer support trends and provide a first-hand look at an update regarding the recent launch of Optum’s peer support training program from their session, “Peer Mentor Training For People With I/DD.” They will provide an overview of Medicaid reimbursement for I/DD peer support services, share new lessons learned from a pilot program to recruit and train peer support specialists, and outline employment pathways for peers. They will also outline ways to evaluate the impact of peer programs on I/DD services and how evidence indicates the use of peer supports increases consumer engagement in care, social functioning, and self-esteem. Furthermore, the pair will share their efforts to expand peer mentor programs for individuals with I/DD through partnership development and a peer mentor training curriculum pilot.

Executive attendees of this session will learn how to:

  • Leverage existing skills and resources to recruit skilled specialists.
  • Track and measure relevant outcomes of peer support programs.
  • Develop a sustainable funding model to ensure program longevity.


July 14
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Categories:

Featured Speakers

Tracy Sanders, M.Ed., Senior Director, Medicaid Complex Population Development, Optum Behavioral Health

Tracy Sanders is a senior director within Optum Behavioral Health’s national product team. She works closely with national, state and local partners on the design, implementation and quality measurement of programs and services supporting individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD). She is the program lead for Optum’s Peer Mentor Training Curriculum for People with I/DD. Ms. Sanders has more than 30 years of health care experience spanning healthcare information technology, medical device R&D and complex population product development in the US and internationally. She has participated as a member of the Council on Quality and Leadership MLTSS Workgroup, which seeks to develop a common understanding of value-based quality measures of services and supports utilized by individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities. She is also a board member of the Sheltering Arms Foundation, which invests in the lives of Minnesota’s children to help them reach their full potential. She lives in Saint Paul, MN and enjoys gardening and trips to the North Shore.

Kelly Friedlander, Principal Consultant, Community Bridges Consulting Group

Kelly Friedlander is the Principal and Founder of Community Bridges. She has worked in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities for over 15 years and consults primarily around stakeholder engagement, advocacy, and managed long-term supports and services. In North Carolina, she worked on stakeholder engagement and policy analysis projects for clients such as the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, RHA Howell, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, Vaya Health, and Anthem Healthcare. Her specialty is convening and facilitating diverse work and advisory groups, with the goal of infusing individuals with IDD and their family member’s voices into the public policymaking process. In addition, Ms. Friedlander has worked as a subject matter expert and writer for managed care RFIs and RFPs in Florida, Washington, Texas, Missouri, and North Carolina. Before moving to North Carolina, Ms. Friedlander served as the Operational and Quality Assurance Director of Pyramid, Inc., the largest day training program in Florida. She also has experience working within a state government, as she provided oversight to the Developmental Services Quality Assurance Contract at Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration. Ms. Friedlander holds a Master’s of Social Work, a Master’s of Public Administration, and a Bachelor’s of Social Work.

Raymond Wolfe, J.D. Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS

Raymond “Ray” Wolfe, J.D. brings over 40 years of experience in the health and human services sector to the OPEN MINDS team. His areas of expertise include managed care and value-based reimbursement models, financial analysis and management, mergers and acquisitions, CCBHC certification, integrated care, performance improvement, and strategic planning. Before joining OPEN MINDS, Mr. Wolfe served in a 22-year tenure with Pittsburgh Mercy Health System in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Most recently, Mr. Wolfe served as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), where he was responsible for oversight of all system operations, strategic planning, and performance management. Before acting as Pittsburgh Mercy’s COO, Mr. Wolfe served as the organization’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and was responsible for the development of internal costing methodologies, contract rate negotiations, and financial forecasting activities. Mr. Wolfe was promoted to CFO after serving as the Director of Fiscal and Information Security/Compliance for the health system. Prior to his time at Pittsburgh Mercy Health System, Mr. Wolfe served as Chief Fiscal Officer with the Summit Center for Human Development in Clarksburg, West Virginia, where he was responsible for reporting and budgeting functions and preparing Summit Center’s programs for FFS billing. Prior to working in the health and human services market, Mr. Wolfe spent five years practicing as an Attorney with the Law Offices of Arch A. Moore in Moundsville, WV. In this role, he provided general legal practice, created and established bylaws for multiple corporations, and handled West Virginia licensing of first vision insurance plan. Mr. Wolfe earned his Juris Doctor from the West Virginia University School of Law in Morgantown, WV, and his Bachelor’s degree with a focus in Political Science and Sociology from West Liberty University, Wheeling, West Virginia, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude.

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