Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

MORRIS FREEHOLDERS SUPPORT NEWBRIDGE’S STANCE ON THIS ISSUE

NewBridge Services Fundraiser to Focus on Changes in State Funding for Mental Illness and AddictionNewBridge Services invites residents and business leaders in Morris, Passaic and Sussex counties to attend its gala on Friday, April 21 to raise money to support children and adults with mental illness and addiction at a time New Jersey is changing the way it funds mental health care.

This year’s event, named “The Race to Sustain Hope,” focuses attention on a new funding formula for mental health services that could unravel the safety net of community mental health services. Assemblyman Anthony Bucco is among the special guests who will discuss the state’s shift to fee-for-service funding as of July 1.

“If the state doesn’t add safeguards to the new funding system, NewBridge and other community nonprofits may no longer be able to serve vulnerable residents who either don’t have insurance or can’t afford the co-pays and deductibles if they are insured,” said NewBridge CEO Robert Parker.

The New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Services estimates as many as 20,000 state residents could lose access to services.

The Morris County Board of Freeholders has strongly urged the state to ensure that a new behavioral services reimbursement system set to startup this year does not block some of the neediest state and county residents from obtaining vitally needed mental health treatment.

The Board, in a resolution passed by a 6-0 vote last month, urged the state to put fiscal safeguards in place during the transition of its fee-for service system, or to delay the July 1, 2017 implementation date of the new system.

NewBridge Services Fundraiser to Focus on Changes in State Funding for Mental Illness and Addiction

Freeholder Christine Myers

“Fee for service may ultimately be great but it must be implemented correctly, as a system that works for all counties and towns and recognizes the differences in our communities,’’ said Freeholder Christine Myers. “If not, we are faced with jeopardizing some of our nonprofit agencies that have been cornerstones for services in our county for decades.

Under fee-for-service funding, the state will reimburse providers for certain services considered “billable,” but not others, and in some cases at rates that do not cover actual costs.

The state will no longer pay when clients miss sessions, even though people with mental illness historically miss appointments 20 to 30 percent of the time, a function of their illness. The supportive services that help clients stick to their treatment plan — follow-up phone calls, home visits, assistance managing daily responsibilities — are not covered.

Business leaders are invited to sponsor the gala event to be held at the Wyndham Hamilton Park Hotel and Conference Center in Florham Park. For information, contact NewBridge Director of Development Vicki Hess at 973-939-2427 or [email protected]. To purchase tickets, go to https://newbridge.org/registrations/2017-gala.

Last year, NewBridge helped 10,000 children, adults and seniors a year through counseling, housing and education programs in Morris, Passaic and Sussex counties, and elsewhere. NewBridge began as a local mental health center in 1963 — the year as President John F. Kennedy called on Congress to create a national program for mental health — and has expanded and evolved over 54 years to meet the growing needs of its communities.

For more information on New Bridge Services, visit: https://newbridge.org/