The state of New Jersey has begun a six-week outreach program that will educate staff, providers, and members of the public on the potential benefits and timeline of NJ’s controversial plan to shift addiction and mental health services to a new department.

The leaders of the state Department of Health held a trio of conferences calls last Thursday to discuss the changes with about 500 stakeholders. State officials are working to schedule “town-hall” discussions in all 21 counties. Only four dates have been confirmed so far, starting with Burlington County this morning.

The purpose of these meetings is to establish a massive reorganization where the division - that runs the state’s four psychiatric hospitals and oversees an extensive system of community-based programs – will change from DHS to the DOH.

“The reorganization will provide increased efficiency, coordination and integration of mental health and addiction prevention and treatment services within the Department of Health,” Donna Leusner, the department’s communications director, explained.

During the stakeholder calls last week, Leusner said DOH Commissioner Cathleen D. Bennett and DHMAS director Valerie Milke stressed that the reform seeks to improve healthcare services for all state residents, help providers to treat the “whole person” in a single setting, and better address substance use disorders.


There will also be meetings held to answer questions from staff, patients, and family members at psychiatric hospitals.

During the stakeholder calls last week, Leusner said DOH Commissioner Cathleen D. Bennett and DHMAS director Valerie Milke stressed that the reform seeks to improve healthcare services for all state residents, help providers to treat the “whole person” in a single setting, and better address substance use disorders.

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Source: http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/17/09/05/nj-seeks-public-input-on-plan-to-reorganize-addiction-mental-health-services/

Posted 2:05 PM  View Comments

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