PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
July 24, 2017

Cathleen D. Bennett

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Op-ed: Christie Administration Remains Committed to Supporting Women’s Health

Cathleen D. Bennett, Commissioner
New Jersey Department of Health

Previous editorials have attempted to tie state funding for women’s health services to a rise in rates of Sexual Transmitted Disease (STD).  Unfortunately, these editorials fail to provide a complete picture of the efforts being undertaken by the State for women’s health and the actual reasons for a national rise in STD rates. The Christie Administration has long supported vital preventive and comprehensive women’s healthcare services. The Governor’s budget includes $30 million for community health centers to support the care of uninsured and underinsured New Jerseyans with primary and preventive health care including reproductive health services. New Jersey’s 115 community health centers provide extensive health services—including screenings and vaccinations—to half a million of the state’s most vulnerable citizens. Community health centers have increased the number of female patients served for reproductive health services by 15 percent from 2009 to 2016.

Family planning services continue to be supported in all 21 counties with $2.1 million in funding. There has been a 6.6 percent increase in patients at family planning clinics between 2014 and 2015: 93,102 served in 2014 to 99,232 served in 2015. Just between community health centers and family planning clinics, there are 141 sites statewide where women can get reproductive health services and this doesn’t take into account private physicians, hospital clinics and college health centers that also offer these services.

In addition to supporting reproductive health, the Department also provides $13 million to ensure that uninsured, low income residents have access to cancer screening across the state through the New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection Program (NJCEED).  Since 2011, this program has provided more than 65,000 mammograms.  On an annual basis, it supports approximately 20,000 breast and cervical screenings for New Jersey women.

In the area of Sexually Transmitted Disease (STDs), the Department is committed to increasing awareness, enhancing outreach to potentially exposed partners and working with providers to ensure young adults are aware of risks. New Jersey STD rates have been mirroring national trends, which have been rising.  To reverse this trend, the Department launched a “Get #TeSTD” social media awareness campaign in December about this urgent public health issue with a focus on alerting the public that one in two sexually active young people will get an STD by age 25. Through that initiative, we have targeted college health centers to help spread this message. To boost early identification of cases, the Department has been improving our partner tracing efforts to ensure we are more effectively reaching those who might have been exposed to an STD. There are 24 County and City STD Clinics in the state and in cities like Camden, Newark, Jersey City, Paterson and Trenton, local health and health care providers are redoubling efforts to increase assess to testing and treatment, expand hours and enhance outreach. This year’s budget dedicates $5.7 million in funding for STD prevention and screening. 

On top of these state efforts, hundreds of thousands of women have access to health services through Medicaid, private insurance or state health benefits. 145,718 women of child bearing age have benefited from increased access to women’s health services through Medicaid expansion. Throughout the Christie Administration significant funding has been dedicated to ensuring women have access to comprehensive care to keep them healthy.

Last Reviewed: 7/24/2017