Advocacy Archives

 Past Advocacy Pieces

2020: Invest in a Healthy New Jersey

2019: Protect and Expand Access to Behavioral Health Care

2018: Strengthen the Foundation of New Jersey's Community-Based Behavioral Health System: Invest in New Jerseyans' Well-Being!

2017: Stepping Up to Meet Changes on the Horizon

2016: Reinforce the Lifeline for New Jersey Residents: Invest in Community-Based Mental Health, Substance Use and Developmental Disability Services

2014: Valuing the Lives of All New Jersey Residents and the Providers who Save and Improve Lives

2012:  Recovery Now for New Jersey and its Residents

2011:  Walking a Tightrope

2010:  Bankrupt Dreams, Battered Souls

2009:  Still Waiting

2008:  Bottom Line


Duty to Warn – Changes to the Duty to Warn statute were signed into law recently. The standard for a duty to warn to exist has not changed from “a reasonable professional in the practitioner's area of expertise would believe the patient intended to carry out an act of imminent, serious physical violence against a readily identifiable individual or against himself.” However, before, healthcare professionals had several options for acting on that duty to warn. Now, all must include notification of law enforcement among their responses. This applies to those who are suicidal and to voluntary admissions. The existing system already had in place a process whereby information on involuntary admissions was made available to law enforcement.

NJAMHAA does not have consensus among our members on the changes to the Duty to Warn provisions, but recognizes the serious concerns many have. As a member of the New Jersey Mental Health Coalition, we will be involved in drafting a letter to the Attorney General and reaching out to others to share some of those concerns and make recommendations for implementation. (Note: There are no regulations currently – only the statute exists, so it is not clear if the state intends to promulgate regulations now.)

Among the recommendations we will be making are:

1. Only a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) trained officer may respond to a Duty to Warn report made to law enforcement.

2. All police officers must receive training on the statute and how it will be implemented.

There may be others – these were the two fully agreed upon so far. If you have any recommendations to make, please share them with Mary Abrams at who will share them with the Coalition.

11/08/18: NJAMHAA met recently with staff from the Attorney General’s office and shared the following recommendations which we were assured would be forwarded to the appropriate staff:

- Duty to Warn reports should be filed with the Attorney General’s office, where the check for firearm permits for the individual and/or household could be conducted.  The AG’s office would, in turn, as warranted, relay information to local law enforcement.

- Only Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) trained officers will be dispatched for firearm seizure.

- Training on the Duty to Warn statute should be provided to all police officers so they are all aware of the process and responsibilities of the various parties.

- Guidance should be distributed to all local law enforcement entities to ensure awareness and consistent implementation of the law.


Rate Setting Principles

Rate Setting Technical Paper

FY 2016 Children Position Paper

Policy Position Papers

NJAMHAA's Position Papers

As part of NJAMHAA’s public policy platform, policy positions are developed in committee and adopted by the Board of Directors as a vehicle to create an external environment that enables NJAMHAA members to meet the needs of the 500,000 New Jersey children and adults with mental health and substance use disorders they serve annually.

Following below are short summaries to give you overviews of the full position papers. Each summary has a link to the full position paper.

Physical and Behavioral Healthcare Integration

People with behavioral health disorders often have co-morbid physical health disorders, which result in greatly shortened lifespans, as well as high costs due to use of emergency services when left untreated. Often stigma keeps individuals from addressing their behavioral health with physicians; at the same time, stand-alone physical healthcare providers often have limited experience in addressing behavioral disorders. It follows that behavioral healthcare providers present an ideal location to address the physical healthcare issues of people with behavioral health disorders. NJAMHAA supports redirecting funds from high-cost programs to the development of Medical Homes and Behavioral Health Homes, and sufficient rates for primary care providers to ensure they will accept individuals with behavioral health disorders. NJAMHAA also advocates for sufficient funding for both the creation of electronic data exchanges, to promote data sharing and integrated care coordination, and training and support, to help behavioral health providers transition into integrated care, improving access and quality of care for the behavioral health population while saving taxpayer money.


Click here to read the full paper.


Diversion and Reentry from Corrections

Although people with mental health and substance use disorders remain overrepresented in the criminal justice system, community providers of mental health and substance use treatment have helped prevent many individuals from inappropriately entering the correctional system through a variety of diversion programs. NJAMHAA supports expanding the capacity of community behavioral health programs, including pre and post booking, and re-entry programs. NJAMHAA also advocates utilizing only licensed providers for mandatory treatment that is prescribed by the Drug Court expansion, to ensure program quality and integrity, as well as for capital funding to meet the increased demand on diversion program placements into treatment. Integration of services through stronger linkages among healthcare providers, medication, social and behavioral health services is also necessary, for those facing incarceration, those housed in the correctional system, and those who are released from correctional facilities, with pre-release discharge planning essential. 

Click here to read.



People with serious behavioral health and\or substance use disorders are disproportionately poor with complex and comorbid health conditions. They often cannot afford even modestly priced rental housing without public housing assistance. The largest homeless subpopulation in the 2012 count was those with mental health issues. Among the chronically homeless, 91.2 percent reported mental health issues and/or substance use issues (76.4 percent). Not only is stable housing a key component of recovery, but a strong link with improved health. This paper discusses NJAMHAA’s advocacy for supportive housing, including efforts to monitor the de-coupling of treatment services from housing following the Frank Melville Act of 2010. NJAMHAA also advocates for the development of emergency shelters and transitional housing systems in every county, as part of a full spectrum of housing options from independent living to 24-hour residential programs.

Click here to read.


Licensure Exemption

Licensed social workers and therapists are in short supply in the non-profit behavioral health sector. A sizeable disparity between salaries and benefits exists between non-profit and other sectors. Due to this disparity and other factors, non-profits have difficulty attracting and retaining licensed professionals and often endure prolonged staff vacancies. NJAMHAA advocates for the continuation of the non-profit licensure exemption, as well as inclusion of non-profit community provider representatives on licensing boards and commissions.

Click here to read.


Regulatory Efficiencies

New Jersey’s non-profit providers operate in an over-burdensome and often duplicative regulatory environment. Moreover, with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and New Jersey’s Comprehensive Medicaid Waiver Reform, the administrative burden will increase in many areas of daily functioning for these organizations. NJAMHAA advocates for uniform licensing standards for mental health and substance use programs, as well as other common sense reforms, which will ease the regulatory burden. These reforms include centralized contracting, approving deemed status and centralized data collection so that various entities will be interoperable.

Click here to read.

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