Department of Human Services | New Integrated Health Advisory Panel Holds First Meeting
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Group to advise on creating coordinated system of primary and behavioral health care

TRENTON – The advisory panel appointed to help guide the creation of an integrated primary and behavioral healthcare system in New Jersey held its first official meeting today.

Created last month by the Department of Health (DOH) as part of Governor Chris Christie’s reorganization plan which moved the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services into the DOH, this panel of experts will hold quarterly meetings to discuss the issues affecting the blending of separate systems of care in order to create one system that treats the whole person.

“Now the focus can shift to creating a system of care that treats physical illness, mental health care, and substance use disorder equally, and in a coordinated fashion,” Acting Commissioner Christopher Rinn said about the integration.

The 18-member Integrated Health Advisory Panel includes the DOH Commissioner or designee as Vice-Chairperson, and brings expertise in clinical services, medical care, policy, legal issues, and technology. It will assist in creating a patient-centered system of care that includes prevention, wellness, treatment, and sustained recovery through coordinated care. It also will advise on issues impacting integrated care including research, data-driven and evidence-based practices; statutory and regulatory barriers; education of community providers; and expansion of and increased access to patient-centered delivery and information integration.

Alan Oberman, CEO of John Brooks Recovery House in Atlantic City, was selected to chair the panel.

Governor Christie transferred the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) from the Department of Human Services to DOH in late August. The transfer followed stakeholder engagement with 1,500 community partners and staff throughout the state.

Last month, former Commissioner Cathleen Bennett directed the creation of the Integrated Health Services branch, which received the unanimous approval of the Public Health Council. The new branch, led by Deputy Commissioner Carolyn Daniels, will coordinate prevention and treatment with primary care, including chronic disease prevention, treatment, and management. The new branch includes DMHAS and a new Community Health Division, comprised of the Office of Primary Care & Rural Health (Federally Qualified Health Centers; Children’s Oral Health, Rural Health) Community Health & Wellness Unit (Nutrition and Fitness; Chronic Disease Programs; Tobacco Control) and the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health.

The Integrated Health Advisory Panel members are:

Dr. Arturo Brito, executive director of the Nicholson Foundation and a former deputy commissioner at the Department; Anthony DiFabio, president and CEO of Robin’s Nest in Glassboro; Dr. Kemi Alli, CEO of Henry J. Austin Health Center in Trenton; Robert Budsock, CEO of Integrity House in Newark; James Curtin, executive director of Daytop NJ in Mendham; Gen. Mark Graham, Sr. Director, Rutgers University Behavioral Healthcare National Call Center in Piscataway;  Craig Hilton, CEO of Hampton Behavioral Health Center in Westampton; Jillian Hudspeth, president and CEO of the New Jersey Primary Care Association; Professor John Jacobi of Seton Hall University School of Law; Dr. Russell Micoli, VP of Ambulatory Services, Jefferson Washington Twp. Hospital; Alan Oberman, CEO of John Brooks Recovery House in Atlantic City; Mark Schmit, CEO of Eva’s Village in Paterson; Linda J. Schwimmer, president and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute; Dr. Bonita Stanton, founding dean of Seton Hall-Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine;  Eva Turbiner, president and CEO of Zufall Health Organization; and Debra Wentz, president and CEO of the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies.

DOH also has posted on its website guidance to support the integration of outpatient care for physical, mental health, and substance use disorder facilities licensed by the Department.

The guidance, which also provides contacts for licensing and inspection issues regarding primary care, mental health and substance use disorder services, can be found at:

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