Mental Health and Addiction Services Scheduled to Receive Much Needed Financial Aid
Recently, the New Jersey Department of Human Services announced that the state will provide much needed financial resources for mental health and addiction service in New Jersey. According to the plan, the state will use up to $25 million granted by the federal government in the Coronavirus Relief Fund to help mental health and addiction services remain open and operational despite previous budget limitations. More than two-hundred and fifty providers have been deemed eligible for funding in the state’s new effort.
In the midst of COVID-19, mental health and addiction services have been restructured, reduced, and sometimes dismantled as facilities have faced massive budget crises to keep up with COVID-related protocols. In the beginning of the year, these facilities had not factored in the additional costs that come with social distancing, personal protective equipment (PPE), and virus-testing needs that have become necessary over the last 6 months. At reduced capacity limits, with higher expenses, mental health and addiction services have struggled to stay float, perhaps at a time when they are needed the most.
Under the state’s new plan, providers can be reimbursed for any COVID-related expenses that had not been budgeted for in the beginning of the year. The timeframe of these expenses must fall between March 9th (Governor Murphy’s declaration of a public health emergency) and December 20th. Some of the qualified expenses include PPE, COVID-testing for staff and patients, and improvement for telehealth/virtual services, such as counseling.
Commissioner Carole Johnson concluded:
Our safety net providers have worked hard to support individuals throughout this crisis but face increased costs to stay open and accessible as they work to comply with public health and safety guidelines. Today, we are committing to help them manage these unexpected costs so that they can deliver critical services to those in need.
We can learn a lot from history. COVID-19 struck the nation and has left a devastating wake of mental health and addiction-related issues. As it appears, we may be in for a “Round 2” of COVID shutdowns and protocols in the not-too-distant future. It is promising to see state officials prioritize increased financial resources to the specific facilities that will be needed in the coming months.
As always, if you or a loved one are struggling, please do not hesitate to reach out. Our Executive Director is ready for your call to point you in the right direction for addiction treatment services.