NJ FamilyCare to Further Enhance Services for Older Adults and Individuals with Disabilities, Including Innovative Affordable Housing Investment

Feds Approve Additional Department Plans to use American Rescue Plan Matching Funds to Strengthen Medicaid Home and Community-based Services 

Feb. 7, 2022

(TRENTON) – Acting Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman today announced the federal government has approved additional Department plans to strengthen and expand home and community-based NJ FamilyCare services for older adults and individuals with disabilities, including plans to develop affordable housing for members across the state.

The latest approvals represent a combined state and federal investment of $144.6 million over three years. The plan partly uses federal matching dollars through the American Rescue Plan to benefit NJ FamilyCare members. NJ FamilyCare is New Jersey’s Medicaid program.

In October, the federal government approved Department plans to invest $634 million in state and federal money to bolster home and community-based Medicaid services for older adults and individuals with disabilities, so this new round of approval boosts the total new investment over the next three years to about $780 million.

“We are thrilled to announce these newest approvals which strengthen and prioritize independence, community options and person-centered care across New Jersey,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said.  “The shelter and safety of housing is fundamental to good health and our innovative Healthy Homes initiative is a game-changing, first-time Medicaid investment in affordable housing for individuals at risk of homelessness or institutionalization.” 

 “Our federal partners have affirmed New Jersey’s plan to strengthen existing home and community-based services and invest in creative new approaches,” said Assistant Commissioner Jennifer Langer Jacobs, who directs the Medicaid program. “We are supporting independence for older adults and people with disabilities with a strategy that includes services, resources, workforce development and an unprecedented investment in affordable housing. Our community partners are central to our plans, and we will be collaborating with them as we move forward.”

Among the approved plans:

·         The $53 million plan to develop 100 deed-restricted, subsidized and accessible rental units for NJ FamilyCare beneficiaries across the state. Repair and replacement reserve funds will ensure that the housing remains affordable and dedicated to Medicaid beneficiaries for the 30-year life of the unit.

·         A $64.9 million investment in applied behavior analysis services that are provided at an early age to assist children with autism spectrum disorders with personal care services, focusing on independence and decreasing their dependence on others as they age. They also provide caregiver and member training to support sustainability. When successful, such services reduce the likelihood of a beneficiary transitioning into adult group home settings and improve the chances of successful integration into the community. Under this plan, to preserve access and availability of these services and to better compete with the commercial market, New Jersey is proposing to raise the current reimbursement rate to $15 per 15 minutes.

·         A $15 million plan in collaboration with the Department of Children and Families to implement a new program to assist youth with intensive intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and/or co-occurring behavioral health needs. Through the plan, a multidisciplinary and flexible mobile treatment team will deliver intervention and support for youth with significant I/DD and co-occurring needs within their home environment and the context of their caregiving system.

“I applaud our colleagues at DHS for a forward-thinking plan to address many of the social determinants of health and well-being that many of the families we serve struggle with - issues like access to affordable, quality healthcare, safe homes, and substance use treatment,” Department of Children and Families Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer said. “In particular, I’m excited about our new collaboration for the children and youth living with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.  These funds will support DCF’s implementation of intensive mobile services for children and youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This new model will implement a multidisciplinary approach that addresses the needs of children and youth with complex needs, will enable us to better meet the needs of families in crisis, have increased collaboration with our I/DD contracted provider community for follow-up services and supports, and ensure better outcomes for the safety and stability of the child and family.”

·         Investing $5.7 million to increase rates to help maintain a strong workforce in the Jersey Assistance for Community Caregiving (JACC) program, which provides in-home services to enable an individual at risk of being placed in a nursing facility to stay in their home. JACC is a program of the Division of Aging Services that provides a broad array of in-home services to enable an individual at risk of placement in a nursing facility to remain in his or her community home.

·         A $2 million investment in person-centered planning, which is an important tool in enabling and assisting people to identify and access the services and supports they need. Such planning provides a strong foundation for fulfilling a person’s needs, preference and goals.

·         New Jersey has previously established a substance use disorder-specific plan to promote interoperability for behavioral health providers by encouraging providers to establish or enhance their electronic health records systems. Some behavioral health providers that would benefit from implementing or upgrading technology do not meet the program requirements for an SUD-focused incentive. New Jersey will use $4 million to establish a program for non-SUD providers, based on incentive payments tied to provider milestones.

NJ FamilyCare serves about 2 million residents. Visit here to learn more about the program that provides affordable health insurance to qualified New Jersey residents of any age.