Advocacy E-News February 3, 2015
February 3, 2015
EDITORIAL: N.J. MUST FIX MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM
Medicare Toughens Standards on Nursing Homes
In 2008, New Jersey brought together a group of people affected by a dual diagnosis of developmental disabilities and mental disorders — including health care providers, family members and other advocates, state officials, and patients themselves — to address the lack of services and support. Advocates say between 30 and 40 percent of people with developmental disabilities also have mental health disorders. The plan was approved but never funded. And so, seven years later, many people with dual diagnosis continue to fall through the cracks.
GOVERNOR MUST DELIVER ON MENTAL-HEALTH FUNDING
Gov. Chris Christie has been vocal about his commitment to combating addictions, and we remain hopeful that action will follow that contributes to closing the treatment gap for substance use disorders. An equal level of commitment is needed to ensure access to treatment for mental illness, for both children and adults, which, like substance use disorders, are highly prevalent and often co-exist with substance use disorders. Providers face an almost insurmountable challenge, since the Medicaid reimbursement they receive for services falls far short of supporting actual costs. The continued fiscal viability of many providers is at risk, which places the entire system of care in a precarious position.
BILL WOULD AID MISSING WHO ARE MENTALLY ILL, DISABLED
A bill to establish an alert system that provides rapid dissemination of information about a missing person who has mental, intellectual or developmental disabilities was advanced by a Senate panel recently. The measure, sponsored by Sen. James Beach, D-Camden, calls for the attorney general to establish an MVP Emergency Alert System. The bill passed the Assembly in December.
“Creating an alert system that would assist individuals with disabilities and their families is a sensible plan,” Beach said. “This bill would lend a helping hand to law enforcement, speeding the investigation and research process and ultimately bringing residents safely to their homes.”
MEDICARE TOUGHENS STANDARDS ON NURSING HOMES
The star ratings of nearly a third of the nation’s nursing homes were lowered on Friday, as federal officials readjusted quality standards in the face of criticism that the ratings were inaccurate and artificially inflated. Federal officials said they hoped the changes would make it easier for consumers to differentiate between facilities, as well as spur nursing homes to make improvements.