Advocacy E-News January 12, 2017
January 12, 2017
CHRISTIE FOCUSES ON DRUG ADDICTION AND MENTAL HEALTH IN STATE OF THE STATE SPEECH
In his speech to a joint session of the state Legislature, Christie proposed a plan to expand access to treatment and remove barriers to employment for recovering addicts. He called for a reduction in the prescription drug supply. And he announced a new education curriculum on opioids. Nearly 1,600 people in New Jersey died from drug overdoses in 2015. He will direct the state attorney general to limit how much opioid-based pain medications health care providers can prescribe patients. And he will have the education commissioner develop new curriculum in every school on opioids. He also called on lawmakers to help him. He challenged the Legislature to pass a bill within 30 days to prevent health-insurance companies from denying coverage for the first six months of inpatient or outpatient drug-rehabilitation treatment.
The Governor reiterated his pledge to include 127 million dollars in funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment. He also announced an additional $5 million for the statewide expansion of a successful pilot program on pediatric behavioral health. This program provides telehealth hubs with a psychiatrist on call for pediatricians. The participating pediatricians receive training on how to screen our children for behavioral health conditions and substance abuse issues. The program then provides an immediate connection to a specialist while the parents and child are in the office.
WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT CHRISTIE’S STATE OF THE STATE SPEECH
With Gov. Chris Christie devoting most of his final State of the State address laying out a blueprint to tackle heroin and opioid addiction, New Jersey lawmakers, lobbyists, and mental health experts offered comments on his remarks.
NEW JERSEY SELECTED FOR MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES PROGRAM
Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) today announced that New Jersey has been selected to participate in a demonstration program to expand access to community mental health services and strengthen the quality of care for those living with mental and behavioral health issues. The demonstration program was created under Lance’s Excellence in Mental Health Act, which was signed into law in 2014.
NJ SUED OVER TEEN INMATES’ TREATMENT
Teenagers sent to state prison in New Jersey are routinely stripped of their federal rights to special-education services and sometimes left in solitary confinement with little regard for their disabilities, a new class action lawsuit contends. Some inmates with special-education needs receive no education, while others are asked to complete worksheets while sitting in a cage, the suit alleges. Teens with disabilities who are incarcerated in adult prisons are entitled to special education through the age of 21, according to federal and state law, the lawsuit says. New Jersey’s Department of Corrections, however, ignores that obligation, the suit claims.
N.J. STOCKS FALL ON TRUMP VOW TO SLASH MEDICARE DRUG PRICES
When the president-elect vowed again during a longawaited news conference to change the way the federal government pays for prescription drugs in the Medicare program, the declaration immediately sent drug company stock prices tumbling. Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb and other pharmaceutical companies saw an immediate reaction to the incoming president’s comments. The remarks sent other health care stocks lower as well. The S&P 500 health care index SPXHC was down about 1 percent.