Advocacy E-News December 22, 2016

December 22, 2016


New Jersey among 8 States Selected For New Demonstration Program to Improve Access to High Quality Behavioral Health Services

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today announced the selection of eight states for participation in a two-year Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) demonstration program designed to improve behavioral health services in their communities. This demonstration is part of a comprehensive effort to integrate behavioral health with physical health care, increase consistent use of evidence-based practices, and improve access to high quality care for people with mental and substance use disorders.

Read about this exciting program


EDITORIAL: Postpone mental-health funding reform

Mental health services in New Jersey could take a major hit in 2017, thanks to a new funding model that health providers fear will open cracks in the system through which thousand of patients could fall. Preventing those disruptions wouldn’t be hard — if state officials are sensitive to the threat. But that remains an open question, and the uncertainties have mental-health advocates increasingly on edge. State officials say they’ve heeded the concerns of mental-health advocates in developing the fee-for-service plan. Then they should also heed the concerns that the process is moving too quickly. They should extend the deficit funding through June 2018.

Read the full Daily Record Editorial


N.J. Assembly OKs stricter scrutiny of group homes for disabled

The state Assembly voted Monday to impose stricter rules on the private agencies that operate group homes for people with developmental disabilities. The bill (A2503) is named for Stephen Komninos, a 22-year-old man who died in 2007 when he was left unsupervised against medical orders, and choked to death on a bagel.
The bill would require:
– Six unannounced inspections at a group home every year;
– Drug testing for group home employees;
– Family and guardian notification within an hour after a medical emergency;
– Investigators to seek input from families or guardians and provide them progress reports during investigations;
– The Department of Human Services to send an investigator to the facility within 48 hours of a report of abuse or neglect.

Read more


Gov. Christie stands alone in support of solitary confinement | Editorial

Earlier this week, the once Republican presidential hopeful vetoed a bill that would have limited the use of solitary confinement in the state’s prison and jails. And then he took his bully pulpit one step further, hurling insults at the measure’s key sponsor.

The Bill would have protected vulnerable populations – inmates younger than 21 and over 55, prisoners with developmental or mental health disabilities, pregnant women – from the documented harm long periods of isolation can inflict.

Both the veto and the personal attack are beyond lamentable. New Jersey should take the moral high ground, rather than catering to the lowest common denominator.

See the full Trenton Times Editorials