NJAMHAA to Honor State and Federal Legislators April 15, 2019

The New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies (NJAMHAA) will honor U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., State Senator Joseph F. Vitale (D-19th District) and Assemblyman Louis D. Greenwald (D-6th District) during its Courage and Compassion Awards Reception, which will be held on April 15, 2019 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Princeton in Plainsboro, NJ. This event will take place at the end of the first day of NJAMHAA's Annual Conference, The Ivy League of Behavioral Health, Policy, and Practice in Action.

Congressman Pallone to Receive the Federal Champion for Health Care Award
"Congressman Pallone has contributed tremendously to the mental health and substance use disorder field and the individuals who receive these invaluable services," said Debra L. Wentz, PhD, President and CEO of NJAMHAA. He was instrumental in the creation of the Affordable Care Act, which he is fighting to preserve to help ensure that all Americans can receive health insurance and have access to healthcare services. He also led negotiations among Democratic Representatives on the 21st Century Cures Act, which provides substantial funding for research on brain disorders and development of treatments, as well as funding to address the opioid abuse crisis. More recently, he introduced the Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act of 2019, as well as policy solutions to reduce prescription drug prices.

"Now that Congressman Pallone is Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, we anticipate that his strong leadership will consistently move forward legislation with positive impacts for the behavioral health field and those it serves," Dr. Wentz added.

Senator Vitale to Receive the State Champion for Health Care Award
"Beginning long before he was appointed Chair of the State Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, Senator Vitale has been a phenomenal supporter of the general health and behavioral healthcare fields," Dr. Wentz said. "He has dedicated his entire career to advancing health care for everyone and he has been a role model for integrated care."

In addition, Sen. Vitale is the primary sponsor of the Mental Health Access Act (S957), which calls for increased Medicaid reimbursement rates for behavioral health counseling services that are included in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices or meet other criteria determined by the state Commissioners of the Department of Human Services and Department of Children and Families.

Assembly Majority Leader Greenwald to Receive the Leadership in Increasing Access to Substance Use Treatment Award
"NJAMHAA has worked with Assemblyman Greenwald for a long time, since he was Chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. He has always been supportive of the behavioral health field and an advocate for securing resources to ensure that people receive the services they need," Dr. Wentz said.

Asm. Greenwald's most recent contribution was to fighting the opioid epidemic with the introduction of legislation (A4744) that prohibits prior authorization requirements for prescriptions of methadone, buprenorphine, naltrexone and other approved medications that treat substance use disorders. This legislation would not only establish in statute the recent Medicaid change to prohibit such pre-authorizations, but would also cover uninsured individuals whose services are supported with state funding. Asm. Greenwald is also a sponsor of A4804, which requires Medicaid coverage of professional violence prevention counseling services, and A4806, which establishes the Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program Initiative in the Department of Health.

Please visit https://njamhaa.org/events for all details on NJAMHAA's conference and to register. Attendance at the Courage and Compassion Awards Reception is included in the registration fee for the first day of the conference (April 15th) and registration for the awards reception is also available separately.

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