Advocacy E-News December 4, 2017
December 4, 2017
FEDS SAY N.J. PADDED ITS MEDICAID BILLS BY $600M
According to an Inspector General audit New Jersey padded its Medicaid bills by $600 million over a dozen years by seeking reimbursement for public worker pensions that the state never paid and inflating the pay rates. The audit instructed the Christie administration to refund at least $300 million of the Medicaid funding. But state officials replied by saying they will contest the inspector general’s findings.
BILL CREATING NJ CAREGIVER TASK FORCE GAINS ASSEMBLY PANEL APPROVAL
An Assembly panel on Thursday advanced legislation creating a task force to ensure that New Jersey is doing all it can to support caregivers who provide invaluable services. The legislation (A-1463) would establish the “New Jersey Caregiver Task Force” including the National Alliance on Mental Illness New Jersey to evaluate caregiver support services in the state and provide recommendations for improving and expanding services.
NJ GRANTED WAIVER TO USE MEDICAID FOR INPATIENT DRUG TREATMENT
Governor Christie on Wednesday highlighted a new long sought Medicaid waiver for New Jersey. Granting states relief from the federal Medicaid rule, known as the Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion, was one of the top recommendations from the Christie-led White House Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis that was formed by Trump to examine ways the federal government could address the issue. Christie and other critics of the rule said it has become a serious impediment that prevents many low-income residents from getting inpatient drug treatment.
EDITORIAL: CASE SHOULD FORCE HARDER LOOK AT MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM
The signs that 30-year-old Jesus Lopez was suffering from serious mental anguish and uncontrollable anger were plain enough for anyone to see. This anguish showed up not once or twice or even a few times in the last decade but played out over and over like a bad movie. Last month that movie ended in terror and tragedy. New Jersey seems at a crossroads on how it deals with the mentally ill. The state has over the years cut down on its number of public hospital beds available in an era when “deinstitutionalization” has become a watchword in the health care field.
IF YOUR INSURER COVERS FEW THERAPISTS, IS THAT REALLY MENTAL HEALTH PARITY?
It’s been nearly a decade since Congress passed the mental health parity act, with its promise to make mental health and substance abuse treatment just as easy to get as care for any other condition. Yet today patients still struggle to access treatment. In New Jersey, 45 percent of office visits for behavioral health care were out-of-network. The high proportion of out-of-network behavioral care means mental health and substance-abuse patients were far more likely to face the high out-of-pocket costs that can make treatment unaffordable, even for those with insurance.
Read the just released NAMI Parity Report The Doctor is Out.