Advocacy Archives


Rate Setting Principles

Rate Setting Technical Paper

FY 2016 Children Position Paper

Policy Position Papers

NJAMHAA's Position Papers

As part of NJAMHAA’s public policy platform, policy positions are developed in committee and adopted by the Board of Directors as a vehicle to create an external environment that enables NJAMHAA members to meet the needs of the 500,000 New Jersey children and adults with mental health and substance use disorders they serve annually.

Following below are short summaries to give you overviews of the full position papers. Each summary has a link to the full position paper.

Physical and Behavioral Healthcare Integration

People with behavioral health disorders often have co-morbid physical health disorders, which result in greatly shortened lifespans, as well as high costs due to use of emergency services when left untreated. Often stigma keeps individuals from addressing their behavioral health with physicians; at the same time, stand-alone physical healthcare providers often have limited experience in addressing behavioral disorders. It follows that behavioral healthcare providers present an ideal location to address the physical healthcare issues of people with behavioral health disorders. NJAMHAA supports redirecting funds from high-cost programs to the development of Medical Homes and Behavioral Health Homes, and sufficient rates for primary care providers to ensure they will accept individuals with behavioral health disorders. NJAMHAA also advocates for sufficient funding for both the creation of electronic data exchanges, to promote data sharing and integrated care coordination, and training and support, to help behavioral health providers transition into integrated care, improving access and quality of care for the behavioral health population while saving taxpayer money.


Click here to read the full paper.


Diversion and Reentry from Corrections

Although people with mental health and substance use disorders remain overrepresented in the criminal justice system, community providers of mental health and substance use treatment have helped prevent many individuals from inappropriately entering the correctional system through a variety of diversion programs. NJAMHAA supports expanding the capacity of community behavioral health programs, including pre and post booking, and re-entry programs. NJAMHAA also advocates utilizing only licensed providers for mandatory treatment that is prescribed by the Drug Court expansion, to ensure program quality and integrity, as well as for capital funding to meet the increased demand on diversion program placements into treatment. Integration of services through stronger linkages among healthcare providers, medication, social and behavioral health services is also necessary, for those facing incarceration, those housed in the correctional system, and those who are released from correctional facilities, with pre-release discharge planning essential. 

Click here to read.



People with serious behavioral health and\or substance use disorders are disproportionately poor with complex and comorbid health conditions. They often cannot afford even modestly priced rental housing without public housing assistance. The largest homeless subpopulation in the 2012 count was those with mental health issues. Among the chronically homeless, 91.2 percent reported mental health issues and/or substance use issues (76.4 percent). Not only is stable housing a key component of recovery, but a strong link with improved health. This paper discusses NJAMHAA’s advocacy for supportive housing, including efforts to monitor the de-coupling of treatment services from housing following the Frank Melville Act of 2010. NJAMHAA also advocates for the development of emergency shelters and transitional housing systems in every county, as part of a full spectrum of housing options from independent living to 24-hour residential programs.

Click here to read.


Licensure Exemption

Licensed social workers and therapists are in short supply in the non-profit behavioral health sector. A sizeable disparity between salaries and benefits exists between non-profit and other sectors. Due to this disparity and other factors, non-profits have difficulty attracting and retaining licensed professionals and often endure prolonged staff vacancies. NJAMHAA advocates for the continuation of the non-profit licensure exemption, as well as inclusion of non-profit community provider representatives on licensing boards and commissions.

Click here to read.


Regulatory Efficiencies

New Jersey’s non-profit providers operate in an over-burdensome and often duplicative regulatory environment. Moreover, with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and New Jersey’s Comprehensive Medicaid Waiver Reform, the administrative burden will increase in many areas of daily functioning for these organizations. NJAMHAA advocates for uniform licensing standards for mental health and substance use programs, as well as other common sense reforms, which will ease the regulatory burden. These reforms include centralized contracting, approving deemed status and centralized data collection so that various entities will be interoperable.

Click here to read.


Past Advocacy Pieces

Fiscal Year 2019: Protect and Expand Access to Behavioral Health Care

Fiscal Year 2018: Strengthen the Foundation of New Jersey's Community-Based Behavioral Health System: Invest in New Jerseyans' Well-Being!

Fiscal Year 2016: Reinforce the Lifeline for New Jersey Residents: Invest in Community-Based Mental Health, Substance Use and Developmental Disability Services 

Fiscal Year 2014: Valuing the Lives of All New Jersey Residents and the Providers who Save and Improve Lives

Fiscal Year 2012:  Recovery Now for New Jersey and its Residents

Fiscal Year 2011:  Walking a Tightrope

Fiscal Year 2010:  Bankrupt Dreams, Battered Souls

Fiscal Year 2009:  Still Waiting

Fiscal Year 2008:  Bottom Line

 Mental Health: A Wise Investment

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