Posted Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

New Focus is on Stigma-Free Approach to Care 

(From Office of the Governor)

Governor Chris Christie today announced that the reorganization of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services into the Department of Health is nearly complete, with creation of an Integrated Health Services branch, engagement of 1,500 community partners and staff, appointment of an Integrated Health Advisory Panel, and relocation of more than 250 staff.

Gov. Christie Announces Division Of Mental Health and Addiction Services ReorganizationThe Governor also that  a comprehensive analysis of the state’s four psychiatric hospitals, including Greystone Park State Psychiatric Hospital in Parsippany will be undertaken.

“The reorganization was accomplished in 70 days under the leadership of departing Commissioner Cathleen Bennett and teams from the departments of Health and Human Services,” Christie said. “Now the focus can shift to creating a system of care that treats physical illness, mental health care, and substance use disorder equally without stigma.”

“This is an opportunity to streamline regulations and reimbursement mechanisms to support innovative models of integrating mental health care, substance use disorder treatment, and physical health care,” said Arturo Brito, executive director of the Nicholson Foundation and a former deputy commissioner at the Department of Health. “We know that these integrated models best promote patient health and wellness and are cost effective.”

Anthony DiFabio, president and CEO of Robin’s Nest in Glassboro, said “integrating mental health, substance abuse, prevention and treatment, and primary care services produces the best outcomes and offers the most effective approach to caring for people with complex healthcare needs.”

More than 1,500 community partners and staff were engaged during the reorganization in teleconferences, 21 county town halls and meetings at psychiatric hospitals. A new DMHAS website was created featuring 70 FAQs for stakeholders, vendors, consumers, families, and DMHAS staff.

photo of Greystone Park State Psychiatric Hospital in Parsippany

Greystone Park State Psychiatric Hospital in Parsippany

In addition, a newsletter devoted to the reorganization was distributed to more than 6,000 stakeholders, and the Department also has begun using #NJIntegratedHealth on social media. Email migration tutorials and webinars were conducted for DMHAS staff.

As part of the reorganization, the Department issued a standing order that allows licensed pharmacists to dispense naloxone without a prescription. In addition, the first addiction services fee-for-service vendor payment was successfully processed after being transferred from the Department of Human Services.

The New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority also issued a Request for Proposal to conduct a comprehensive analysis and make strategic recommendations for the state’s four psychiatric hospitals, including Greystone. The consultant will assess management, operations, facilities, staffing, risk management, policies, and procedures, as well as clinical, medical and nursing services. All facilities will be evaluated by March 1, 2018.