NJAMHAA to Honor Individuals for Making Contributions to Behavioral Healthcare

October 19, 2017

MERCERVILLE, NJ - The behavioral healthcare industry in New Jersey-with the ongoing transition to fee-for-service billing, the upcoming change to value-based reimbursement, the transfer of mental health and addiction services from the Department of Human Services to the Department of Health, and Governor Christie's new initiatives to address the opioid epidemic-has been shifting rapidly. Through these systemic changes that aim to improve quality of care for the state's most vulnerable residents, the industry relies on the leadership, insights, and advocacy of individuals who take charge of ongoing changes and make a difference in improving understanding of and access to vital services.

The New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc. (NJAMHAA) is a statewide trade association representing nearly 160 organizations that serve New Jersey residents with mental illnesses, substance use disorders and/or intellectual/developmental disabilities, and their families. To recognize the leaders who make a positive difference for behavioral health in New Jersey, NJAMHAA will present awards during the lunchtime ceremony of its upcoming Fall Behavioral Healthcare Meeting, Shaping Our Future, which will be held on October 24, 2017 from 9:00 AM to 4:15 PM at the Pines Manor in Edison. The luncheon will take place from noon to 1:15 PM.

NJAMHAA will honor Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon (R-Monmouth) with the State Leadership in Substance Use Services award, for sponsoring landmark legislation earlier this year which expanded substance use treatment access and limited opioid prescriptions; activist and author Jay Lassiter, with the Truth in Media award for his awareness-raising in his weekly program on 101.5 FM, Heroin Uncut: The Truth about the Crisis; and Rosemarie Rosati, who recently retired from her position as Chief Operating Officer of Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC), with the Leadership in Mental Health and Substance Use Services award for her years of dedication and excellence in treating people in need and advocating on their behalf.

Assemblyman O'Scanlon represents the 13th Legislative District and had sponsored the Assembly version of the legislation (A3) that requires insurers to provide treatment for substance use disorders, and limits initial opioid prescriptions to five-day supplies, which was signed into law earlier this year. He also sponsored bills that would establish a New Jersey Suicide Prevention Advisory Council, prohibit transfer of individuals with developmental disabilities from out-of-state to in-state placements under certain conditions, and require healthcare practitioners to inform patients of the addiction risk presented by certain medications prior to issuing prescriptions. Assemblyman O'Scanlon has also been an outspoken advocate for people with addiction, referencing his own family's tragedy to inform his compassion and decision-making.

Jay Lassiter is an activist, political consultant, and host of the weekly podcast Heroin Uncut: The Truth about the Crisis, presented on statewide radio 101.5 FM. Through this program, Lassiter aims to give listeners an honest look at the heroin addiction crisis. Lassiter is outspoken in favor of harm reduction strategies, such as needle exchanges, and is open about being a person in recovery.

Rosemarie Rosati has been a member of NJAMHAA for many years, and had co-chaired NJAMHAA's Hospital-Based Committee. In her nearly 20 years at Rutgers UBHC, she championed adherence to integrated evidence-based practices throughout the agency's broad spectrum of programs, and served as a role model and inspiration for both coworkers and the individuals that UBHC served.

NJAMHAA is proud to celebrate these three individuals who strive to improve treatment for substance use and mental health disorders, as well as increase education, expand access to services and reduce stigma surrounding those diseases. For the pervasive problem of addiction, advocates are needed in every corner of the state and in multiple public spheres to deliver messages of recovery and push for legal and cultural changes. NJAMHAA recognizes the individuals who make a difference every year at its Fall Behavioral Healthcare Meeting.

The Fall Behavioral Healthcare Meeting is an annual conference that offers agency executives, mid-level managers, and clinical staff opportunities to meet with fellow professionals at a wide range of human services organizations across New Jersey; discuss ideas for making every aspect of their businesses better; and enhance their clinical effectiveness. Industry leaders will offer engaging educational sessions to present their insights on strategies to help behavioral health agencies stay on top of market trends and improve their efficiencies and bottom lines.

NJAMHAA works to advance the behavioral health industry in New Jersey. The Fall Behavioral Healthcare Meeting is an exciting initiative that helps build the state's behavioral health community by offering a day filled with educational opportunities and networking in one place at a low cost.

For details and to register, please visit www.njamhaa.org/events. Walk-in registrants are welcome: the cost is $150 for NJAMHAA members and $255 for non-members.

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