WORTHY OF RECOGNITION: Governor Chris Christie today acknowledged and celebrated the work of staff and stakeholders at the Department of Human Services in expanding community-based programs and services for residents of New Jersey with mental illness. Since 2010, an extraordinary investment of state funds has been made to transform the state’s behavioral health system through initiatives that prevent unnecessary hospitalization, advance nationally accepted best practices in treatment and to ensure the timely discharge of patients with support services that help them sustain wellness.
The Department, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law - a national legal advocacy organization advancing the rights of people with mental illness - and Disability Rights New Jersey - the New Jersey protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities – last week announced the conclusion of a 12-year legal process after acknowledging that the state met, and in some cases exceeded the requirements set under an Olmstead lawsuit and settlement agreement, establishing that people with disabilities – in this case, a mental illness – must be treated in the least restrictive and most appropriate setting.
IT’S ABOUT COMMUNITY: As a result of the lawsuit and settlement agreement, the state has prioritized through policy and budget initiatives supportive housing and ‘wrap-around’ community services for people with mental illness, improving the quality of life and recovery outcomes for thousands of New Jersey residents and enhancing community mental health services by raising provider payment rates up to 400 percent for certain services.
At the time the case was brought in 2005, about half of the people being treated in a state hospital were ready for discharge but had no place to go with services in place to support their recovery so they remained hospitalized for lengthy periods. That number has been reduced drastically through the development of supportive housing, a category in which the state exceeded its goals. The settlement required New Jersey to develop 1,065 new units; the state developed 1,436.
Governor Christie has made good on his promise to stop over-institutionalizing people with mental illness.
- With the increase in the investment in our community infrastructure, there has been more than a 20 percent increase in the total number of individuals served in the community. In 2009, there were 280,633 served in the community as compared to 2016 where 337,519 have been served in the community, an increase of 56,886.
- The change in admissions from 2223 in 2009 (prior to Settlement Agreement) to 1,884 in 2016, represented a decrease 339 (15.2 percent).
- Between 2009 and 2016 there was a 22.1 percent decrease (400) in the total average census from 1,806 to 1,406.
- The Conditional Extension Pending Placement (CEPP) census as a proportion of state hospital census has steadily declined from 50 percent in 2006 to 43.6 percent in 2009 to 21.8 percent in 2016.
- The CEPP Census has declined from 735 in July 2009 to 297 in July 2016, a reduction of 438 or 59.6 percent.
- Between 2011 and 2016 there has been a 203.87 percent increase in the proportion of CEPP populations discharged to Supportive Housing from NJ Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitals.
- Between 2011 and 2016 there has been a 159.17 percent increase in the proportion of all hospital populations discharged to Supportive Housing from NJ Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitals.
- In 2009, 4,120 consumers were served in the state hospitals as compared to 3,290 in 2016. This is a reduction of 830 or 20.15 percent.
- In 2009, there were 3,497 consumers served in supportive housing as compared to 6,301 in 2016. This is an increase of 2,804, or 80.1 percent.
- In 2010, there were 49 discharges to boarding homes, or 2.3 percent of total discharges as compared to 2016 where there were 17 discharges to boarding homes, or 0.9 percent of discharges. From 2010 to 2016, we have seen a reduction of 32 discharges to boarding homes or 65.31 percent.
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