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NJAMHAA Honors State Legislators, Media Representative and Members

 
During NJAMHAA's recent Fall Behavioral Healthcare Meeting, Focusing on a Bright Future by Strengthening Behavioral Healthcare, CEO Debra Wentz, PhD, honored several individuals for their diverse, profound contributions to the behavioral healthcare system and the individuals who depend on and benefit from it.

Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman (D-15th District), State Legislative Leader Award for Community Provider Support: “All of Assemblywoman Watson-Coleman’s initiatives demonstrate her focus on ensuring that providers have safe environments and greater opportunities to deliver quality treatment. As a genuine member of our community, she is a true leader, always fighting in the trenches for improving life for all New Jerseyans. Among the hundreds of key bills that she has taken the lead on, especially near and dear to NJAMHAA members is the fact that Assemblywoman Watson-Coleman was a prime sponsor of the budget resolution adding a 1 percent recurring Cost of Living Adjustment, or COLA, to the Fiscal Year 2015 state budget for community providers,” Dr. Wentz said.
 
David Matthau, State House News Reporter, New Jersey 101.5, Truth in Media Award: “David has provided extensive and straightforward coverage of news relating to mental health and substance use disorders. I also appreciate that he has reached out to NJAMHAA many times for interviews, most notably for his series on children’s mental health in August 2013. We applaud David for his open mindedness, initiative and professionalism in addressing this vital issue and hope it leads to more people learning about mental health and giving them the knowledge and resources they need to save their own lives and the lives of others. David Matthau exemplifies balance in reporting as he presents the facts, but with compassion and the desire to truly educate,” Dr. Wentz said.

Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, Executive Director of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, Award for Large-Scale Impact through Collaboration: "Dr. Brenner is renowned for his hotspotting project and achieving significant savings in healthcare costs by focusing on the highest users of hospital care in Camden. He also established the Good Care Collaborative, a coalition of providers and advocates who are studying and promoting numerous models of good care delivery and will develop and advocate for Medicaid reform. Even before this latest initiative, Dr. Brenner demonstrated an excellent collaborative spirit. One of the most notable examples was his reaching out to meet with us to discuss the legislation he developed for the Medicaid Accountable Care Organization demonstration project and his agreement to increase the required number of behavioral healthcare providers in ACOs. We are especially appreciative of Dr. Brenner’s understanding that access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment is a huge
cost saver and his open mindedness in learning more how vital the work our members do is to the future of health care," Dr. Wentz said.

Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-7th District), State Legislative Leader Award for Ensuring True Parity: “We are honoring Assemblyman Singleton to express our appreciation of his efforts and support for individuals who need treatment for mental illnesses and substance use disorders. He was the first to take the lead in reaching out to the Department of Banking and Insurance to ask about the provisions of parity for substance use and mental health care being implemented as intended to increase access to treatment. He always is proactive and helpful, and asks the right questions and takes action, fulfilling all his promises,” Dr. Wentz said.

Jim Lape, Vice President of Behavioral Health and Senior Services, Trinitas Regional Medical Center, Lifetime Leadership in Behavioral Health Award: “I am delighted to present this award to Jim in honor of his inspiring work, unmatched knowledge of the behavioral health system and profound impact on providers, communities and the people they serve.  Throughout his career of more than 30 years, he has always been very creative in policy and program development, and always ahead of the curve in reading trends and strategically operationalizing them on the local level. Always, he challenged the status quo and was proactive and hands on …a leader who got things done. He has added enormous value to the NJAMHA membership as a Board member and Chair of the Hospital Based Committee, and he has certainly contributed tremendously to the entire healthcare system,” Dr. Wentz said.

Senator Robert Singer (R-30th District), State Legislative Leader Award for Addressing the Heroin Epidemic: “In light of the heroin crisis we are in the midst of in our state and across the nation, it is encouraging to have a leader in our State Senate tackling this tragic issue. Most recently, Senator Singer sponsored two of the 21 bills designed to address this crisis.  Senate Bill 2375 proposes licensure of ambulatory care facilities to provide integrated primary care services, including behavioral health care. This bill would achieve even greater benefits by helping all individuals with substance use and mental health disorders. Senate Bill 2378 proposes extending the Overdose Prevention Act’s immunity provisions to certain professionals and professional entities, and permitting needle exchange programs to obtain standing orders for the opioid antidote. Clearly, Senator Singer’s efforts are making a significant impact on a major issue affecting many people throughout our state and nation,” Dr. Wentz said.

Senator James Whelan (D-2nd District), State Legislative Leader Award for Community Provider Support: “Among his many accomplishments is the passage of a law that provides equity in long-term care funding so seniors are not forced into nursing homes, and sponsorship of numerous bills on behalf of disabled veterans. Of special note to NJAMHAA providers is his being prime Senate sponsor of the budget resolution that adds a 1 percent recurring COLA to the Fiscal Year 2015 state budget for community providers,” Dr. Wentz said.
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