Advocacy E-News November 20, 2014
November 20, 2014
DHS CANCELS BUDGET FORUMS
For the first time in recent memory the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) will not be holding Budget Forums. In the past these forums have been an opportunity for provider agencies and the individuals who depend on the Department’s services to provide input to DHS on priorities for the Department’s upcoming budget request.
In a letter to stakeholders announcing the cancellation due to “scheduling conflicts”, DHS invites “constructive” thoughts and ideas be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the Department of Human Services, PO Box 700, Trenton NJ 08625.
NJ ADVOCATES CONCERNED ABOUT SAFETY IN STATE’S PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITALS
Mental health advocates in New Jersey say they are getting more calls from concerned family members about assaults in state psychiatric hospitals. Recent closings of several psychiatric hospitals in New Jersey could mean deteriorating conditions in the remaining hospitals, says Phil Lubitz, who heads the advocacy group NAMI New Jersey.
UNION COUNTY TO CONTINUE OPERATING PSYCHIATRIC UNIT
Union County is selling Runnells Specialized Hospital in Berkeley Heights, but the county now plans to lease back the Cornerstone Psychiatric Unit in the hospital and continue running that facility. In May, the freeholders agreed to sell the 300-bed Runnells including the 44-bed adult Psychiatric Unit in Berkeley Heights to the Center Management Group of Flushing, N.Y. for $26 million. The county wanted to sell the hospital because it has run at a deficit that reached $30 million over the last two years.
$148M COULD BE SAVED WITH MORE MENTAL HEALTH ATTENTION
New Jersey taxpayers could save hundreds of millions of dollars a year and thousands of patients could have improved health and better quality of life if clinicians coordinated physical and mental health care, a new Rutgers University study says. The report, produced by the Center for State Health Policy, found that more than a third of the $880 million in hospitalization costs in the 13 communities it studied were associated with behavioral health issues such as mental health disorders and substance use. By focusing on patients who frequently use hospital emergency departments and in-patient services – so-called super-utilizers – health care providers could wring out millions of dollars in unnecessary services, it said.
PHILLIPSBURG SHOOTING: POLICE WERE ADVISED OF MENTAL ISSUES
The mother of the Phillipsburg man shot to death Monday morning by town police had warned officials with the department her son was schizophrenic and had been unable to obtain his medication, according to a friend of the deceased. The friend is left wondering why police didn’t wait until a mental health professional could respond to Monday’s incident reportedly sparked by a complaint about threatening messages.