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TRENTON – The Department of Human Services (DHS) today held a bidders’ conference for mental health agencies interested in a $293,766 contract opportunity for the development of the state’s involuntary outpatient commitment (IOC) program in a sixth county.In May, DHS’ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services awarded five contracts totaling $1.7 million to develop the IOC program in Burlington, Essex, Union, Hudson, and Warren counties. Those programs began operations last week.

Collectively, the six IOC contracts will fund the first phase of the involuntary outpatient psychiatric care system of services, required by legislation to provide comprehensive outpatient programming and develop a coordination and referral system to address the needs of individuals committed by the courts to outpatient psychiatric treatment.

“This program  builds on Governor Christie’s commitment to expand community-based services for individuals with mental illness,” said DHS Commissioner Jennifer Velez, adding that more than $32 million in new appropriations have been earmarked for mental health community-based housing and services since January 2010. “Care in the community allows people to access help locally, among friends and family, and with the least disruption to their work and personal routine.”

The recipients of the IOC contracts are required to assess clients’ level of danger to themselves or others, provide direct referral to clinical and support services identified in each consumer’s recovery plan, monitor adherence to the treatment plan, interface with the court system and committing judge, and arrange transportation to hearings, evaluations and programs.

Four agencies interested in the sixth contract attendeda bidder’s conference this week to learn about the goals, criteria and details of the contract.

All bids for the $293,766 contract are due by 4 p.m. September 5, and DHS expects to notify the selected agency by October 19.

After a similar competitive bidding process, DMHAS awarded five IOC contracts in May to the following agencies: The Lester A. Drenk Behavioral Health Center, Inc. in Hainesport, $287,607;: Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth, $534,974;
Mental Health Association of Essex County, $319,936; Family Guidance Center of Warren County; $293,935; and Jersey City Medical Center, $269,782.

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