Advocacy E-News February 1, 2017
February 1, 2017
CHRISTIE CALLS FOR 864 NEW ADULT ACUTE CARE BEDS
The New Jersey Department of Health has filed a certificate of need call for new adult acute care beds throughout the Garden State, the first such new call for these type of beds in 20 years and we’re asking for another 864 beds to be used to treat those, not only with substance abuse treatment, but with those co-diagnosed with behavioral health, mental health problems.
The state Department of Human Services also announced Tuesday that it was raising the reimbursement rates for psychiatrists and advance practice nurses who see Medicaid patients outside of a hospital. The rates have been the source of tense meetings between state officials and treatment providers, who said reimbursements were so low they would have to reduce the number of people they are able to see.
ASSEMBLY PANEL CLEARS BEHAVIORAL HEALTH PARITY BILL
An Assembly panel on Monday released legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Craig Coughlin that expands health insurance coverage for behavioral health care services and enhances enforcement and oversight of mental health parity. The bill (A-4498) would require plans to provide coverage for medically necessary behavioral health care services and to meet the requirements of a 2008 federal law, which prevents certain health insurers that provide mental or substance use disorder benefits from imposing less favorable benefit limitations on those benefits that on medical or surgical benefits, commonly referred to as mental health parity.
NURSING HOME RESIDENTS GAIN NEW PROTECTIONS
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued a broad revision of nursing home regulations; the first batch took effect in late November, with the rest to be phased in this year and in 2019. These are the first comprehensive updates to long-term care requirements since 1991. Residents and families will most likely appreciate some of these changes once they are in place. But the regulations disappointed nursing associations and many advocates by declining to set minimum staffing standards.
N.J. SENATE PRESIDENT BLOCKS OWN BILL ON GROUP HOME OVERSIGHT?
A month after winning near-unanimous support in the state Assembly, a bill that calls for the nation’s toughest inspection standards for group homes has hit an obstacle. The bill (A2503) has been the subject of debate for six years, as lawmakers have met repeatedly with families and representatives from the private agencies which operate group homes and staff job and recreation sites. Filling low-paid and labor-intensive positions has gotten more difficult, and quality has suffered.
NJ SLAMMED FOR LISTS OF MEDICAID DOCS, HOSPITALS FILLED WITH ERRORS
State regulators have failed to make sure insurance companies serving Medicaid patients have enough doctors, dentists and other providers, a state audit has found. In addition, their lists of providers are widely inaccurate. Those inaccuracies – a chronic source of patient frustration – create the false impression insurers provide robust networks, the audit said. The state audit’s findings appear damning. The investigation confirmed complaints that the lists were laughably inaccurate or out-of-date.