State Budget Continues Support to Fight Opioid Crisis; NJAMHAA Persists in Advocacy for More Funding for All Behavioral Health Services
The greatest win for members of the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies (NJAMHAA) and the children and adults they serve is the continuation of $100 million allocated to fight the opioid crisis. Also significant and positive are initiatives to make health care more available and affordable; the continuation of increased reimbursement for intake assessments and psychiatric evaluations in outpatient programs; the continuation of increased reimbursement for Care Management Organizations for the second consecutive year; and the restoration of $59 million that had been diverted from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund last year.
As NJAMHAA celebrates these victories, we are steadfastly continuing our fight for additional funding that is needed for all substance use treatment and mental healthcare services for children, youth and adults, most notably, $25 million to support specific fee-for-service programs that have been struggling due to in adequate rates that have led to deficits; funding for bricks and mortar that is needed for our members to provide comprehensive, integrated care; and fiscal resources to support increased minimum wages for the direct care workers who provide mental health care and substance use treatment, as well as the salary increases that would become necessary for staff who earn more than the minimum wage.
In typical NJAMHAA fashion, we are rolling up our sleeves and hitting the ground running to continue the call in FY2020 for this much-needed funding. While the budget negotiations are over, our advocacy never will be.