I thank Governor Christie for giving me the opportunity to serve as Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. Having worked within NJDHSS for several years, I understand and will continue to work toward overcoming the incredible health care challenges that stand before New Jersey. Whether protecting the public’s health, ensuring quality health care for all or supporting our seniors with the services they need to live with independence and dignity, the Department will do all that it can to improve the health and lives of every resident of our state.
It’s a mission that will not be accomplished without the combined efforts of the remarkable men and women who make up every part of New Jersey’s health care system. From staff within the Department, to health care professionals in every field of medicine, to emergency workers and stakeholder groups, we will all need to work together to ensure that New Jersey’s health care system remains one of the finest in the nation.
I, along with several members of my team, recently testified before the Senate and Assembly budget committees to review the Department’s FY 2012 proposed budget. As introduced, the Department’s budget imposes fiscal discipline and makes tough choices that take into account our state’s fiscal reality. The proposed budget funds core priorities including hospital funding, long-term care for our seniors, Federally Qualified Health Centers and Early Intervention Services.
I am proud that the State’s proposed budget increases funding to hospitals by $40 million, early intervention services by $17.6 million and the Department’s Global Options program by $47.6 million. By supporting these critical areas we ensure the integrity of our health care infrastructure and protect the health of the uninsured. Additionally, the proposed FY 2012 budget fully funds PAAD and the state’s Senior Gold Prescription Assistance Program without increases in co-pays or changes in eligibility. PAAD remains one of the nation’s most generous senior drug assistance programs.
As the Department works through the budget process, I will continue to reach out to many of you for input and guidance. Together, we will improve the public’s health and ensure access to the high quality health care for which New Jersey is known.
For a profile of Acting Commissioner Mary O’Dowd please see her official biography.