New Jersey Health Care Leaders Praise Governor Murphy’s New Medicaid Initiatives to Strengthen New Jersey’s Fight Against Opioid Epidemic

New Jersey Health Care Leaders Praise Governor Murphy’s New Medicaid Initiatives to Strengthen New Jersey’s Fight Against Opioid Epidemic

Jan. 25, 2018

(TRENTON) – See what people are saying about Governor Murphy’s new Medicaid initiatives to strengthen New Jersey’s fight against the opioid epidemic, including increasing access to medication-assisted treatment programs.

Governor Murphy was joined by Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson and other Cabinet members on Wednesday to announce the new efforts, under which NJ Human Services is:

  • Removing prior authorization requirements for medication-assisted treatment to treat opioid addiction as of April 1;
  • Investing in training more primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to provide medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction;
  • Creating new Medicaid payment incentives to encourage primary care providers to offer medication-assisted treatment;
  • Funding two Medicaid Centers of Excellence for opioid treatment – one at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark and one at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University – to provide community providers access to addiction experts and supports; and
  • Requiring residential treatment facilities that receive Medicaid payment to provide access to medication-assisted treatment as of July 1, 

Debra L. Wentz, PhD, president and CEO of New Jersey Association of Mental Health & Addiction Agencies:

Governor Murphy’s ‘Righting the Opioid Epidemic’ initiatives make unprecedented and significant strides forward in addressing the crisis and setting the path to reversing the tragic trend of drug overdose deaths.  The New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc. (NJAMHAA) applauds the multi-faceted, cross-system, collaborative approach engaging government, law enforcement, providers, and affected individuals and their families in a unified strategy. NJAMHAA is especially pleased that Governor Murphy has heard and responded to our members and other stakeholders’ call to remove prior authorization requirements for medication assisted treatment for Medicaid beneficiaries and to increase access to this type of service by requiring that it be offered in residential settings and recruiting and training primary care physicians to administer it and connect them to other resources.  By keeping families together through the provision of housing, transportation, and other assistance and also expanding the Prescription Monitoring System, as well as Operation Helping Hand to 17 counties to get individuals who commit low-level offenses into substance use treatment, the Governor’s plan is a diversified effort that holds great promise.”

Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey:

“We’re thrilled by @GovMurphy’s actions to expand access to medication assisted treatment (#MAT) today! Ending prior authorizations for MAT under Medicaid & better integrating MAT into primary care will prevent overdoses & help families across New Jersey. #harmreduction

Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, chairman of the New Jersey Reentry Corporation: 

“The Governor’s actions represent a substantial development toward increasing accessibility of MAT for the poor and re-entering persons. I am grateful for the Commissioner’s leadership in shepherding this critically needed change.”

The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers:

“Thank you to @GovMurphy and @NJDHS Commissioner Johnson for closing the #Medicaid gap & waiving prior authorization for lifesaving #MAT in NJ.”

Carolyn Beauchamp, president and CEO, Mental Health Association in New Jersey:

“MHANJ applauds the Governor’s strong leadership in addressing the opioid crisis by creating meaningful programs which address the wide spectrum of individuals’ needs and circumstances. The recognition of the role that medication-assisted treatment plus counseling plays in keeping people alive and on a path to recovery is long overdue and , for many, a path to wellness. The proposed collaboration and integration across departments will be essential to addressing this complex and serious problem.”

James C. Curtin, president and CEO of Daytop New Jersey:

“Substance use is a disease in which waiting for an appointment or a prescription could be the difference between life and death. We applaud Governor Murphy for removing the prior authorization requirement for Medicaid patients to receive medication assisted treatment, making treatment more affordable, easier and quicker for those suffering from this devastating disease.”

Robert Budsock, president and CEO, Integrity House:

“I’m optimistic that the Murphy Administration’s bold strategies to address the state’s public health crisis will result in a reduction of overdose deaths in New Jersey. At Integrity House, we believe strongly that medication-assisted treatment (MAT) saves lives, and when coupled with counseling and support services, makes addiction recovery possible for so many. Removing the Medicaid prior authorization requirement for live- saving medications that assist individuals in their recovery will especially benefit a most vulnerable population, many of whom Integrity House serves.”

Maiysha Ware, president of the New Jersey Association of Opioid Treatment Providers:

"While there’s still much work to do through a comprehensive approach that includes the doctors, patients, families, treatment providers, community supports, pharmacists, insurance companies, government payers (such as Medicaid and Medicare), distributors, manufacturers, law enforcement, and regulators, the strategies outlined by Governor Murphy and his administration prioritize increasing opportunities to bring coordinated attention and efforts to stem the tide on the opioid epidemic in NJ."

Ward Sanders, president, New Jersey Association of Health Plans:

The MCOs recognize and share the same concerns expressed by the governor, DHS commissioner and the Legislature relating to the opioid crisis in New Jersey and applaud the plans being put forth to combat this epidemic.  In support of these initiatives, the state’s Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) are continuing to partner with the state in a number of ways to combat the opioid epidemic. The MCOs will be working with their primary care network providers to help launch the Office Based Addiction Treatment (OBAT) program, which will strengthen the state’s capabilities to treat those with opioid addictions. Similarly, we are working with the state on ensuring timely access to MAT services while continuing to protect patients from harmful drug interactions.”

Raquel Mazon Jeffers, senior program officer, The Nicholson Foundation

"DHS's multi-pronged initiative is exactly what is needed to bring the most effective, evidence-based treatments to patients. It is wonderful to see the State embrace and support the best that science has to offer to treat opiate addiction.  By removing barriers to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and expanding access in primary care settings, New Jersey will become fully equipped to turn the epidemic around."