The Nicholson Foundation is pleased to announce the release of a comprehensive report titled, “Integration of Behavioral and Physical Healthcare: Licensing and Reimbursement Barriers and Opportunities in New Jersey,” by John Jacobi JD, Tara Ragone JD, and Kate Greenwood, JD of Seton Hall’s Center for Health & Pharmaceutical Law & Policy. The report describes specific long-standing New Jersey policies that inadvertently hinder the integration of behavioral health (mental health and substance use disorder treatment) and primary care. It concludes with actionable policy recommendations to eliminate, or in some cases, minimize them.
The report comes at a crucial time, with increased public attention focused on the issues surrounding substance misuse and mental health, and the Governor’s latest proposed budget allocating $100 million in new spending for behavioral health treatment. However, before now little public attention has focused on the issue of integration. The report details how breaking down the historical divisions between behavioral and physical healthcare has tremendous potential to enhance health equity, lower costs, and improve outcomes for those with physical and behavioral health conditions in New Jersey.
The Nicholson Foundation identified the need for the Seton Hall project due to our experience funding care integration pilots at five primary care clinics throughout the state. Our grantees found that their efforts were significantly impeded by New Jersey’s complex and confusing policy environment. To fully understand and surmount the obstacles the primary care clinics were encountering, The Nicholson Foundation asked Seton Hall University School of Law to examine New Jersey’s regulatory and reimbursement environment, and work with state agencies and healthcare stakeholders to conceive workable solutions.
Because the issues the report addresses are complex, The Nicholson Foundation sponsored a webinar to discuss them on April 6, 2016. In the webinar, John Jacobi and Kemi Alli, MD of Henry J. Austin Health Center spoke about the need for behavioral health integration in New Jersey and the roadmap to reform laid out in this report.