Advocacy E-News July 5, 2017

July 5, 2017



Governor Christie today signed his eighth and final budget. Governor Christie’s budget includes $34.7 billion in State appropriations, a slight increase from the Fiscal Year 2017 Appropriations Act. The budget advances the Governor’s efforts to take a more effective approach to how the State supports individuals with mental health and substance use disorders. Governor Christie has advocated for the need to change the way society views drug addiction and the misconceptions about who it impacts, how it affects lives, and how we deal with it. With the Fiscal Year 2018 budget, Governor Christie continues his efforts to take a more effective approach to how the State supports individuals with substance use disorders.

– $136 Million Investment In Substance Use & Mental Health Treatment – The Governor is making a historic financial commitment to raise reimbursement rates and increase access to substance use and mental health treatment. A combined state and federal investment in Fiscal Year 2018 of more than $136 million, will expand access to high quality health care providers for individuals with substance use and behavioral health needs.

– Inmate Drug Treatment Program – Continuing his commitment to help all individuals with substance use disorders, Governor Christie is investing an additional $2 million for substance use disorder treatment services at Mid-State Correctional Facility. The former traditional prison re-opened earlier this year as an institution dedicated to the treatment of inmates. The new Mid-State Correctional Facility treatment program is licensed by the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS).

– Focusing On Treatment – Governor Christie has followed through on his commitment to take a smarter and more effective approach focused on treating drug-addicted offenders by signing into law landmark legislation to put in place a statewide, mandatory Drug Court Program. The Fiscal Year 2018 budget includes nearly $64 million in funding to support the Drug Court program.

– Opioid Overdose Recovery Program (OORP) – As a direct result of the Facing Addiction Task Force’s work, the OORP program launched in Monmouth, Ocean, Camden, Essex and Passaic counties. In Fiscal Year 2018, the budget provides $6.3 million in State and federal funding to expand these services Statewide. OORP, formerly known as the Recovery Coach Program, reaches and connects drug overdose survivors with treatment, counseling and support services in the immediate aftermath of their overdose. The coaches engage individuals saved from an opioid overdose to provide non-clinical assistance, recovery supports and appropriate referrals for assessment and substance use disorder treatment.

– Recovery Dorms – To further support New Jersey’s college students who have been caught in the addiction epidemic, Governor Christie announced the expansion of funding for recovery housing on college campuses. The Fiscal Year 2018 budget provides $1.5 million in funding for on-campus housing for college students in recovery. This program provides students with a sober environment, counseling and additional supports, all of which are useful tools in the life-long battle to maintain sobriety.

– Children’s System of Care (CSOC) — This program helps more youth remain at home, in school and in their own communities, while still receiving the full scope of services they require, and provides coordinated care for more than 61,000 children and adolescents. The Fiscal Year 2018 budget includes a total of $626.5 million in state and federal funds for the operations and services provided by this Division, an increase of $58.3 million over the fiscal 2017 Appropriations Act.

Additional Budget Language of interest to Behavioral Health

– In order to permit flexibility in the handling of appropriations and assure timely payment to service providers during the conversion to a fee-for-service reimbursement structure, funds may be transferred from the Community Care account to the Division of Children’s System of Care in the Department of Children and Families to support mental health treatment programs for children, subject to the approval of the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting

– Language allocating funds for Accountable Care Organizations. $1,500,000, subject to the approval of the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting.

– Language increasing minimum personal needs allowances to $50. The minimum monthly personal needs allowance provided to persons residing in nursing facilities, State or county psychiatric hospitals, and State Developmental Centers who are eligible for Medicaid or SSI benefits.

– Language providing for per youth rate increase for Care Management Organizations. The per youth monthly rate shall be increased by $100 above the rate in effect on June 30, 2017.

– Language allocating Direct Support Professionals Wage Increase funding. The amount hereinabove appropriated for Direct Support Professionals Wage Increase shall be used to provide a wage increase to each direct support professional who provides children’s behavioral health services and assists children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities under provider contracts with the Department of Children and Families, the Division of Developmental Disabilities in the Department of Human Services.

– Deletes Language Charging Department of Human Services Appropriations to the State Lottery Fund

– Language Appropriating Additional Charity Care to Offset Potential Federal Medicaid Cuts