Governor Christie Announces More Than $35 Million Awarded To Fight Opioid Crisis

Continuing his commitment to fight the opioid crisis in New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie announced the state has awarded more than $35 million to provide intensive services to those with severe opioid use disorders, and pregnant and postpartum mothers and older adults with opioid painkiller dependencies.

“To ensure treatment is successful, it is essential that systems of care join seamlessly to treat the whole individual,” Governor Chris Christie said. “This funding supports the type of integration of behavioral and primary health care I envisioned when transferring the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services from the Department of Human Services to the Department of Health.”

ECM grants of $10 million each were awarded to Beacon Health Options of Boston (Northern and Central Regions) and Oaks Integrated Care of Mount Holly (Southern Region) to provide intensive, integrated services for people with severe opioid disorders and individuals who have experienced an overdose episode.

Once the programs are operating, the Department of Health (DOH) will make an additional $8.6 million available in performance-based incentive grants to those providers in the Enhanced Care Management program (ECM).

In addition to the ECM contracts, DOH also recently awarded $5 million in new contracts to expand integrated substance abuse treatment and medical care for pregnant woman and new mothers who are addicted to heroin and other opioids. Through these competitive contracts, the New Jersey Department of Health will provide funding to expand residential and outpatient treatment programs and recovery options for pregnant women, new mothers, and babies.

Each of the ECM providers is expected to treat 1,800 people who are on Medicaid or Medicaid eligible, with priority counties being Camden, Essex, and Ocean. The program, funded by Governor Christie’s recently announced $200 million for initiatives to fight the opioid crisis, will provide people with the most acute disorders a variety of treatment, support, and recovery services at site-based and mobile settings.

The “one-stop” model of service coordination and delivery is designed to facilitate intensive, integrated care, with as many essential services as possible co-located at a particular site or sites.

ECM combines care management, wraparound and recovery services for those being discharged from licensed treatment facilities that provide long-term residential, short-term residential, halfway house, inpatient withdrawal management, and ambulatory withdrawal management. Services also will be available to individuals who are admitted to opioid maintenance outpatient and intensive outpatient and standard intensive outpatient services.

Medicaid-covered or eligible individuals with an opioid use disorder that will be released from the New Jersey State Prison system after completing the addiction treatment programs at Edna Mahon and Mid-State Correctional Facilities, as well as state psychiatric hospitals, also will be eligible for services. People discharged from health care facilities, such as acute care hospitals and Veterans Administration Hospitals, also will be eligible for ECM.

The contracts for services for opioid-dependent pregnant and postpartum women are expected to provide residential treatment for at least 882 women.

“This approach to residential treatment of pregnant women and new mothers in a specialized, integrated program will promote long-term recovery while offering ongoing medical care and support services,” Governor Christie said. “Treatment can help restore a mother’s physical and psychological health and give babies a fair start in life.”

The agencies awarded the contracts in the competitive bidding process were: The Center for Great Expectations Inc., $786,524; Capital Health System, $989,086; Eva’s Village Inc., $1.1 million; Robins Nest, $635,286; and Cooper Health System, $1.5 million. The programs will serve women in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer, Ocean, Salem, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Somerset, and Passaic counties.

Since 2011, New Jersey has seen between 500 and 630 addicted babies born each year with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). Within 24-72 hours after birth, newborns with NAS can experience severe withdrawal symptoms. They also could have a higher risk of premature death from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

In addition to participating in a residential treatment program and focusing on relapse prevention, women who participate in the program will have access to a psychosocial support system of doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers, and others in recovery, referrals to obstetricians and nutritionists and services for housing, transportation, childcare, and job preparation.

DOH also recently awarded $275,000 to educate older adults about the dangers of continued opioid use and the availability of alternative approaches to pain management.

Five contracts of $55,000 each for alternative methods of pain management for older adults will focus on raising awareness of the dangers of painkillers and alternative, safer options.

“We owe it to our older residents to help them explore better, healthier means toward pain management,” Governor Christie said.

In 2015, almost 6,300 of the people who overdosed from opioids were older than 55, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

The five contracts, funded through the federal Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) State-Targeted Response to Opioid Crisis grant, were awarded to: Center for Prevention and Counseling, Inc. (Newton); Children’s Aid and Family Services (Paramus); NCADD Hudson DBA Partners in Prevention (Secaucus); Prevention Resources (Flemington); and Rowan College at Burlington County (Mt. Laurel).

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