New Jersey Seeks Inpatient Capacity Expansion for Mental Health and Substance Use
March 2018 ~
The New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) is seeking to further expand inpatient treatment capacity for individuals battling mental health issues and drug addiction, with plans to add more than four dozen psychiatric hospital beds across three northwestern counties.
The DOH posted a notice inviting providers to submit plans to add up to 53 more inpatient beds in the underserved regions of the state including Hunterdon (23), Morris (5) and Warren (25) counties. The process is designed to encourage the expansion of existing regional services. According to the post, a provider with a presence in Hunterdon, Morris, or Warren can apply to create some or all of the beds needed in these counties. If not based in that area, the applicant must make a case to the DOH why it is best able to serve the local residents.
The latest call-to-action responds to national capacity guidelines of 40 beds per 100,000 residents, and follows almost 20 years without state initiatives for expansion.
Last year, New Jersey announced plans to create 864 new treatment beds in the coming years and later outlined agreements with 26 healthcare providers to add space or build a total of 811 beds in more than a dozen counties. Since then several changes have been made to expand treatment capacity, in addition to calling for more psychiatric beds. The state also filed for a federal waiver to enable Medicaid patients to seek care in larger facilities and committed tens of millions of dollars to expand various community based programs.
This month, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal outlined the state’s new targeted addiction policies which call for new information sharing with the public and among state agencies and integrated local emergency response teams to provide more effective support when dealing with addicts in crisis.
Applications are due May 1st and the State Health Planning Board will review the proposals and make a recommendation to the DOH commissioner by October 1st.