September 17, 2018
ASSEMBLY ADVANCES THREE NAMI NJ SUPPORTED BILLS
The New Jersey Assembly Committees advanced three NAMI New Jersey Supported bills on Thursday (see more below). By a unanimous vote the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee released A2031 legislation to expand health insurance coverage for behavioral health care services and enhance enforcement and oversight of mental health parity. In the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee A3926 that would require depression screening for students in grades 7 through 12 and A2391 that would expand Early Intervention Support Services (EISS) programs that exist in eleven counties to every county in the state. EISS programs provides rapid access to short term, recovery-oriented crisis intervention and crisis stabilization services for up to 30 days to an individual 18 years of age or older with a serious mental illness.
A well-deserved thank you to NAMI New Jersey Advocates and the Mental Health Community. NAMI NJ will continue to track and report on these bills as they work their way through the legislative process.
BILL TO EXPAND HEALTH COVERAGE FOR BEHAVIORAL HEALTH CARE, ENHANCE ENFORCEMENT AND OVERSIGHT OF MENTAL HEALTH PARITY CLEARS ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE
Legislation to expand health insurance coverage for behavioral health care services and enhance enforcement and oversight of mental health parity cleared the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee Thursday. The bill (A-2031) 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 than on medical or surgical benefits, commonly referred to as mental health parity.
LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT TEAM SPONSORING BILL TO ADDRESS RISE OF TEEN DEPRESSION & SUICIDE
Noting the alarming rise in teen depression and suicide, Assemblyman Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D., Assemblywoman Carol Murphy and Senator Troy Singleton (all D-Burlington) on Thursday highlighted the need to screen young people for depression, and discussed how a bill they are sponsoring could help identify warning signs of depression so they could be addressed before it is too late. Their bill, which was released today by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee chaired by Conaway, would require depression screenings for public school students in grades 7-12.
A HORRIFIC CRIME ON THE SUBWAY LED TO KENDRA’S LAW. YEARS LATER, HAS IT HELPED?
Nearly two decades ago, in a Manhattan subway station, a mentally ill man shoved a promising young writer, to her death in front of an oncoming N train. It was a horrific crime that shocked the city and the nation, highlighting deep flaws in the care of seriously mentally ill people and spurring a wave of state laws that use court orders to move them into outpatient treatment.
Last week, the man Andrew Goldstein, now 49, who has had schizophrenia since his youth, walked out of prison and into a mental health system that has been heavily influenced by his crime. But whether those reforms have fundamentally improved that system — or just patched it over — remains an issue of intense debate among lawmakers, doctors and other mental health specialists.