for people ages 18 years and up (full criteria)
at San Francisco, California and other locations
study started
estimated completion



In August 2014, the White House issued an Executive Action mandating that 25 VA medical centers place Peer Specialists (Veterans recovered from mental illness who are trained to support other Veterans with mental illness) on Primary Care Teams. Research shows that the success of adding new staff to existing teams can be improved by outside aid and facilitation. This quality improvement project will evaluate whether providing expanded support to half of the Primary Care Teams will lead to better outcomes when compared with teams that do not get extra support.

Official Title

Program Evaluation of Peer Specialists on VA PACTS: A Quality Improvement Project (QUE 15-289)


Peer Specialists are individuals with mental illness currently deployed to serve Veterans in specialty mental health clinics based upon their lived experiences. Peer Specialist delivered interventions have been shown to improve patient activation in multiple studies. In August 2014, the White House issued an Executive Action mandating that 25 VA medical centers pilot the deployment of Peer Specialists in their Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACTs). This project expands upon this nationally mandated Peer Specialist pilot with the integration of a cluster randomized implementation trial. This quality improvement project will evaluate the impact of facilitated implementation vs. standard implementation to support on the deployment of Peer Specialists in PACTs.

The 25 sites will be divided into three cohorts (n=8,8,9). Each cohort will begin over three successive six-month blocks beginning in early 2016. Within each cohort, sites will be randomized to receive either facilitated or standard implementation. Facilitated Implementation sites will receive one year of support based on the i-PARIHS implementation model which includes training, implementation planning, ongoing external facilitation, feedback and consultation. Standard Implementation sites will receive written guidance and limited consultation by the investigators' team. The investigators will compare the groups on 1) the percent of their target population that actually received PS services; 2) ratings on PS workload productivity including ; 3) Peer Implementation and Services scores; 4) assessment of Veteran's change over time on the outcome variables of satisfaction, activation, and functioning ; 5) qualitative analysis of how well PSs were deployed and their impact.


Mental Illness Physical Illness Veterans Veterans Health Patient Compliance Primary Health Care Health Care Providers Health Promotion Mental Disorders Facilitated Implementation


You can join if…

Open to people ages 18 years and up

  • Included sites must be VA PACT Primary Care Health teams with existing Peer Specialists who are able to include an existing Peer Specialist on their team for a minimum of 10 hours per week for one year

You CAN'T join if...

  • Non VA PACT teams, VA sites without an existing Peer Specialists, and VA PACT primary care teams that cannot commit a Peer Specialist to Primary Care for a minimum of 10 hours per week are excluded


  • San Francisco VA Medical Center, San Francisco, CA
    San Francisco California 94121 United States
  • VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, CA
    Palo Alto California 94304-1290 United States


in progress, not accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
VA Office of Research and Development
Study Type
Last Updated