Advocacy E-News June 21, 2018
June 21, 2018
GOVERNOR MURPHY ANNOUNCES PLANS TO RETURN THE DIVISION OF MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION SERVICES BACK TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES
Governor Phil Murphy will today deliver to the Legislature his reorganization plan to transfer the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) from the Department of Health (DOH) to the Department of Human Services (DHS). The move reverses a Christie administration decision made last year. DOH will continue to oversee and prioritize the development of a single license for providing integrated behavioral and physical health care.
In addition, for the current time, the psychiatric hospitals will remain in DOH.
“The DMHAS transfer will reverse a decision made in the waning months of the Christie administration that was rushed through with minimal input and engagement. Repositioning the division is the correct decision for all concerned,” said Governor Murphy.
Go to the Governor’s announcement
PEOPLE WITH MENTAL ILLNESS SHOULDN’T HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN PAYING FOR MEDICATION OR PAYING FOR FOOD.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps 11 million children, adults and seniors with disabilities, including people with mental illness, every year. This program helps people with mental health conditions who have low incomes afford food so they can focus on other things, like treatment and recovery.
Unfortunately, the House of Representatives is voting on the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2) – as early as tomorrow – which includes provisions that would cut off or reduce SNAP benefits to as many as 2 million people. The bill imposes burdensome work requirements that would hurt many people with mental illness, as well as low-income family caregivers, who find it difficult to find or maintain work.
Contact your U.S. Representative and tell them to reject cuts to SNAP under H.R. 2 and, instead, work in a bipartisan way to strengthen the SNAP program for the people who need it most.
STATE LAUNCHES TAX-FREE SAVINGS PROGRAM TO HELP DISABLED PEOPLE
Disabled people in New Jersey will have a new financial tool to help them save money to pay for childcare, transportation, assistive technology, and other necessary expenses, thanks to a program state officials plan to announce today. The New Jersey Department of Human Services will launch a tax-free savings program that will allow qualified individuals to collect funds to cover costs related to their disability, without preventing them from qualifying for Medicaid and other state and federal social-service programs with strict income limits. The program — called NJ ABLE, for Achieving a Better Life Experience — is based on a federal initiative now underway in three-dozen states.
NJ BILL TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE AMONG INDIVIDUALS WITH MENTAL DISORDERS BECOMES LAW
The new law (formerly bill A-1181) would expand the “duty to warn and protect” by requiring practitioners of psychology, psychiatry, medicine, nursing, clinical social work or marriage and family therapy who determine a patient to be a threat to him- or herself or others to report the patient to law enforcement. If law enforcement then determines that the patient has access to a firearm – and thus has an actionable means of carrying out a previously-communicated threat of serious physical violence – the courts ultimately may order the patient to surrender any firearms in his or her possession.
VETERANS NURSING HOME IN NEW JERSEY IS NEAR BOTTOM IN NATIONAL RATINGS
The Department of Veterans Affairs nursing home in Lyons ranked near the bottom — tied for 105th out of 133 homes nationwide — in internal quality ratings obtained by USA TODAY and The Boston Globe. The data, which the government compiled for years but kept from veterans and their families, show that of a possible 1,100 points, the Lyons facility got 470 points in the 12 months ending Dec. 31. The Lyons home, called a Community Living Center, is one of the largest in the VA, with 250 beds serving patients with serious mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorders, spinal cord injuries and hospice and palliative care needs.