Mental Health, Addiction Services Prominent in FY13 Budget Address

The closure of Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital and Administration’s plans to reform how New Jersey penalizes non-violent drug offenders were featured prominently in Governor Christie’s fiscal year 2013 budget address to the legislature in February.

On the matter of Hagedorn, the Governor announced plans to redirect at least some of the anticipated $42 million in savings to so-called bridge funding for community infrastructure.  Remarking that the hospital’s closure “marks a new day…that focuses on providing community-based care and housing” the Governor pledged $5.6 million additional dollars to the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMAS), and $10 million in new funding to the Department of Human Services.  The details of that funding are critical, of course, as the majority of those who have been released from Hagedorn have been sent back home to their families, who have been clamoring for better DHS family supports.

Persons institutionalized with developmental disabilities can also expect better access to community placement through the proposed $27 million in increased funding for DDD community placements.

Finally, the Governor also renewed his call for addiction services reform in our correctional system, noting to the delight of addiction medicine that it was time for New Jersey to start “treating drug addiction for what it really is – a disease that can be conquered, but only with effective treatment.”  To accomplish this the Governor proposed $2.5 million in spending to create drug courts in all 21 counties, which will work with the DMAS to place non-violent offenders in mandatory treatment as opposed to mandatory prison.

MSNJ has endorsed this approach in the past, and will work with our mental health and addiction services members to promote the best possible outcomes for their patients in the FY13 budget.

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About MSNJ

Founded in 1766, the Medical Society of New Jersey is the oldest professional society in the United States. The organization and its dues-paying members are dedicated to a healthy New Jersey, working to ensure the sanctity of the physician–patient relationship. In representing all medical disciplines, MSNJ advocates for the rights of patients and physicians alike, for the delivery of the highest quality medical care. This allows response to the patients’ individual, varied needs, in an ethical and compassionate environment, in order to create a healthy Garden State and healthy citizens.

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