Advocacy E-News August 1, 2018
August 1, 2018
N.J. TO PROVIDE SAFETY-NET FUNDING DURING SHIFT TO FEE-FOR-SERVICE
Due to the work of New Jersey’s mental health advocates the fiscal year 2019 N.J. state budget that was recently signed by Governor Murphy included a last minute addition of “safety net” funding for mental health programs that transitioned to fee-for-service (FFS). The budget allocates $500,000 for this purpose which is likely to be inadequate according to many mental health provider agencies. The New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies (NJAMHAA) reports that efforts are underway to submit a supplemental appropriation that would substantially increase this amount.
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS MAYOR ORDERS POLICE TO STOP STIGMA-FREE CAMPAIGN
When the Englewood Cliffs Police Department launched a stigma-free campaign in early July, the town became the 70th and final Bergen County municipality to join the movement that was formed to support people with mental illness. But now, on the heels of the police department announcement, Mayor Mario Kranjac has ordered police to tear down the stigma-free posters at their headquarters and halt the campaign.
HOW FATAL SHOOTINGS BY POLICE WERE CUT IN HALF
America’s virtually forgotten success at reducing gun use by police is recounted in a new article by Lawrence W. Sherman, a criminologist at the University of Maryland. A few city police departments, for example in Camden, N.J., are wisely reviving some of the changes of that time period. Many more should follow their example.
HOW AN INMATE’S DEATH LED TO CHANGES AT THE HUDSON COUNTY JAIL
Jenifer Towle spent the last days of her life at the Hudson County jail under a suicide watch as she completed a 180-day sentence for drunken driving. Her and that of an immigration detainee five weeks earlier fueled allegations of medical neglect at the jail and spurred changes that included the early termination of the county’s contract with the company that provides medical care to inmates and the hiring this week of a new one. The county also embarked on a renovation that will expand the medical infirmary and mental health services at the jail at a cost of more than $1 million.
STATE HEALTH INSURANCE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (SHIP)
The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) provides free help to New Jersey Medicare beneficiaries who have problems with, or questions about their health insurance. Medicare beneficiaries frequently have questions about benefits, claims and supplement policies (known as Medigaps). SHIP is a statewide program administered by the New Jersey Department of Human Services.
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION, IN REVERSAL, WILL RESUME RISK PAYMENTS TO HEALTH INSURERS
The Trump administration, in an abrupt reversal, said that it would restart a program that pays billions of dollars to insurers to stabilize health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act. The administration suspended the program less than three weeks ago, but the administration said Tuesday that it would restore the program because otherwise health plans could become insolvent or withdraw from the market, causing chaos for consumers.
US COURT OF APPEALS FINDS BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD DENIALS FOR RESIDENTIAL MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT IN VIOLATION OF FEDERAL PARITY LAW
In March 2014, Danny and Angela, and their daughter, Nicole, filed suit after coverage was denied for payment of medical expenses for Nicole’s mental health treatment at a residential treatment facility in Utah. The Appellate Court held that MHPAEA required the plan’s coverage for stays at licensed inpatient residential treatment facilities to be no more restrictive than stays at skilled nursing facilities. The Appellate Court explained that while MHPAEA is clear.