Statement from NJAMHAA on Governor Christie’s Signing of the Fee-for-Service Oversight Bill

May 11, 2017

Statement from Debra L. Wentz, PhD, President and CEO, New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc. on Governor Chris Christie's Signing of the Fee-for-Service Oversight Bil

MERCERVILLE, NJ - The New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies (NJAMHAA) applauds Governor Chris Christie for signing the fee-for-service (FFS) oversight bill, A4146, into law earlier today. This law establishes independent monitoring of the state's transition of providers of mental health, substance use treatment and developmental disabilities services to a FFS reimbursement system.

This is a victory for NJAMHAA, its members and other providers, as well as the state, as it establishes a collaborative system of checks and balances to ensure adequacy of FFS reimbursement rates, access to services, continuity of care and quality of care. It will also serve to identify gaps in these areas and an avenue for recommendations. The independent body that will monitor the FFS transition going forward and the stakeholder group that will provide diverse perspectives from individuals directly experiencing the impact of FFS - providers, service recipients and their families - are essential for maintaining the community-based service system's ability to meet every individual's unique needs and the significant statewide increase in demand for these services.

NJAMHAA is gratified that the state's bipartisan legislators and leadership have heard and supported our message, and recognize the important services that NJAMHAA members and other providers deliver to individuals with mental illnesses, substance use disorders, developmental disabilities and co-occurring health conditions. We appreciate the State's collaboration with us to ensure sufficient reimbursement rates so that the full continuum of services is consistently accessible and high quality.

This is a very positive step, yet only half of the solution. NJAMHAA urges the State Legislature to pass S3121/A4827, the Community Mental Health Safety Net Act, and that Gov. Christie sign it into law. This would establish safety net funding to be provided during the first year of the FFS system and is equally necessary to achieve the goals of A4146 and the system overall: to ensure continual access to high-quality services.

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