The $ 44.83 billion budget proposed by Governor Phil Murphy on Tuesday was greeted with applause by the leaders of two leading health associations.
New Jersey Hospital Association CEO Cathy Bennett said the proposal recognizes the critical role of health infrastructure and health heroes in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As this pandemic enters the second year of this pandemic, we know the high financial cost of healthcare facilities catering to a surge in patients and the double impact of skyrocketing spending and falling revenues,” she said. “The increase in charity and continued funding of our regional coordinator hospitals is a strong support in recognizing these challenges.”
Read more from ROI-NJ about the budget:
Debra Wentz, managing director of New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, a statewide trade association that represents 153 members, said their group is grateful that the budget addresses the ongoing opioid crisis and pandemic, empowers youth services with a sustained increase in childcare, and provides $ 86.1 million that go to providers of minimum wage increases for two years.
“NJAMHAA welcomes Governor Murphy’s health care proposals, which include renewing and expanding resources for women’s health and family planning. Investing in First Lady Tammy Murphy’s strategic initiatives to improve maternal and child health and related racial differences; Provide Medicaid coverage for a full year after birth; and strategically using federal Medicaid funds to launch a Cover All Kids initiative for children who are currently uninsured, ”she said.
“NJAMHAA supports the proposed increase in funding for providers of housing services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Expansion of the pharmaceutical aid program for the elderly and disabled; and continued investment to address the opioid crisis. “
Bennett, whose association represents more than 400 members, said her group is working to help the state health system emerge in an even stronger position from the pandemic.
Bennett said these points should be priorities:
- Funding to reimburse health care facilities for program and administrative costs of the COVID vaccine to offset some of the additional costs of providing the vaccine to community members;
- Funding pilot nursing home projects to improve care efficiency and redesign efforts to best meet the needs of residents in these communities;
- Continue funding the Medicaid nursing home rate to invest in employee wage increases and activities to improve the quality of health care;
- 10% increase in the daily rate for providers of assisted living to cover the costs of increasing the minimum wage by the state;
- A one-time addition to the Medicaid Capitalization Rate for Comprehensive Elderly Care Programs (PACE) to address cost increases associated with moving to a home operation to protect the frail elderly, including the cost of the elderly, to resolve tests, personal protective equipment, telehealth and Transport;
- Get visibility into Medicaid government MCO spending to reduce healthcare costs and identify best practices.
Wentz said NJAMHAA is encouraged by Murphy’s health care priorities, including affordable and accessible health care provided by the establishment of Get Covered New Jersey, New Jersey’s very own health insurance marketplace – which has extended its open registration to May 15.
“NJAMHAA commends the governor’s initiatives, which are essential to the health and wellbeing of individuals, by enabling them to live meaningful and prosperous lives,” she said. “This includes substantial funding for pre-K-12 training; free tuition for eligible students pursuing an associate degree and for the first two years at four-year public colleges and universities; Personnel development and job creation.
“We urge state lawmakers not only to support the governor’s proposals, but also to meet the significantly increased need for mental health and substance use treatments amid the pandemic by expanding and strengthening proven community-level programs.”