NJACP is your resource for State issues, legislation and regulation affecting providers and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Information about the NJ Legislature
Legislator Addresses Phone Numbers by Districts
Legislative Districts by County and Town
Printable Pamphlet Roster of Legislators
The Legislative Process in NJ
NJACP Bill Update
Click on the bill update for a list and the status of legislation that NJACP is tracking.
Information about Department of Human Services/Division of Developmental Disabilities
NJ Department of Human Services
Office of Program Integrity and Accountability/Office of Licensing
Licensing Laws and Regulations
NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities
Division Policy Circulars
Fee for Service/Rate Setting Information
DDD Supports Program Information
Updated Housing Development Policy
Following ongoing stakeholder discussions, the Division has updated its Housing Development Policy, effective July 1, 2017. The July 1 policy rescinds and replaces the housing development policy distributed April 1, 2016. The updated policy, as well as other housing-related information, is available on the Community Living Options page of the Division’s website.
NJACP Attends DDD Leadership Meeting
NJACP along with the other provider associations participated in DDD’s leadership meeting on July 24. To read about the meeting, click here.
MAAC Holds Quarterly Meeting
The Medicaid Assistance and Advisory Council (MAAC) meeting, held on July 20, featured an update on the Fee for Service (FFS) transition from Department of Human Services (DHS) Assistant Commissioner, Liz Shea. Read about it here.
NJACP’s Valerie Sellers Testifies at Hearing
Valerie Sellers received an invitation to testify at a hearing that occurred on Tuesday, July 25, regarding the transition of mental health and addiction services to the Department of Health (DOH). Governor Christie signed an executive order to relocate these services. It is his belief that providing mental health and drug addiction services through DOH will better integrate physical with mental health.
Over twenty people testified before a joint hearing by the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Services; as well as the Assembly Human Services committees. Almost all testifying focused on similar themes:
- There was no opportunity for stakeholder input;
- Given the impending new administration, now is not the time to effect such a change;
- Providers of IDD and Mental Health & Drug Addiction Services are going through a major transition to FFS;
- Such a move may not be in the best interest of consumers;
- Models for IDD and Mental Health and Addiction Services have focused on community integration, a model that is not familiar to DOH; and,
- There will be an impact on psychiatric hospitals and their unionized employees.
A great deal of the discussion focused on licensing, and that there shouldn’t be two licensing entities. Most testified, however, that the move does not take into account the wrap around services provided through DHS, the coordination among divisions, the focus on services rather than facilities, and the upheaval such a move would create for providers and consumers alike. Valerie Sellers testified that we cannot lose sight of the needs of the consumers and families. She noted that Dr. Deborah Spitalnik reported approximately fifty percent of individuals with IDD have a dual diagnosis and 55% – 70% of individuals with autism also have a dual diagnosis, so such a change would have a significant impact on providers of services for these individuals. Further, Ms. Sellers noted that navigating DHS and DCA can be daunting in itself; adding yet another division would create havoc for those utilizing services. Finally, Ms. Sellers questioned the need to rush into effect such a drastic move absent conducting studies and/or soliciting input from stakeholders.
Assembly Human Services Chairperson Valerie Huttle (D-37) asked Ms. Sellers how she learned of the change, and whether any of NJACP’s member agencies received notification. Ms. Sellers responded that she was contacted by Joe Young from Disability Rights New Jersey and informed of the change, and that no providers were informed prior to the formal announcement.
Studies Shed Light on High Cost of Housing in New Jersey
The Garden State was the sixth-most-expensive state for renters, based on a new report published by the National Low Income Housing Coalition cited by the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. “In order to afford a modest two-bedroom home in the Garden State, a family must earn an hourly wage of $27.31, far more than the state’s average hourly wage of $17.86 or the $8.44 minimum wage,” the HCDN said in a news release. “As the Fair Market Rent in the state for a two-bedroom rental is $1,420, a family must earn $56,810 annually in order to make it affordable. Using that formula, a minimum wage worker would have to work 129 hours per week year-round to be able to afford a two-bedroom home at FMR.” To view entire article, click here.
NJ Legislature Considering Changes to Paid Family Leave Plans
Concerned that New Jersey lags behind other states in the utilization of its current paid family leave program, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and Assembly Speaker Vince Prieto (D-32) developed two separate plans to enrich the benefit, making it easier for employees to consider using it. Currently, businesses with fewer than 50 employees do not have to guarantee an employee’s position will be available when the leave is ended. Prieto’s plan contains job protection for all employees taking paid family leave with the belief that if a person’s job is not protected they will not use the benefit in a time of need.
Both plans also increase the amount of each employees paycheck during utilization of paid leave. Currently, the law limits pay while taking leave to two-thirds of a paycheck. Prieto’s bill increases pay to 90% for the lowest earners and 80% for higher earners, with caps on both. Sweeney has a more complicated calculation which is less than Prieto’s and does not guarantee job protection. Neither proposal has been heard in committee or contains a fiscal estimate. Employees pay into the program in each paycheck and there are also suggestions that increases to that contribution could fund any of either bills changes.
For more information regarding both proposals, click here.
Community Health Law Project Announces It Will Be Accepting New Clients Under a Contract with the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD)
The Law Project is very pleased that once again its attorneys and advocates can provide legal and advocacy assistance to individuals and families in the community who are receiving services from the Division of Developmental Disabilities.
The Law Project has provided representation to residents of New Jersey for forty years through its five regional offices and four satellite offices. Attorneys and advocates will provide representation and brief service in many civil law issues and in entitlement cases.
Assistance will be available in areas including:
- Housing advocacy such as landlord-tenant disputes
- Public entitlements, including eligibility for SSI, SSDI, public assistance, and food stamps
- Medicaid, Medicare, and other healthcare issues such as managed care disputes
- Child support, visitation, domestic violence
- Barrier-free accessibility, American with Disabilities Act and New Jersey Law Against Discrimination matters
- Surrogate decision making issues including wills, living wills, advance directives, powers of attorney, and uncontested guardianships (also limited guardianship and conservatorship)
Please see the CHLP web site at http://www.chlp.org for further information about the Law Project.
The Community Health Law Project is a private not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing legal and advocacy services, training, education, and related activities to persons living with disabilities and the frail elderly, emphasizing those more vulnerable and needy.
Tier Request Form to be Replaced by Auto-Generated Tier Assignment Letters
Effective September 1, 2016, the Division will disseminate an auto-generated tier assignment letter upon completion of the NJ CAT (NJ Comprehensive Assessment Tool), and therefore will eliminate the Request for Tier Assignment process established in June 2015. Mailing of tier assignment letters to individuals who have already completed the NJ CAT is expected to begin August 2016.
The tier assignment is based on the NJ CAT self-care, behavior, and medical scores. An individual budget amount that corresponds to the individual’s tier assignment becomes effective only when:
- An individual enrolls in the Fee-for-Service Supports Program
- An individual already enrolled on the Community Care Waiver (CCW) shifts into the Fee-for-Service system
Until an individual is enrolled or transitioned by the Division into the new Fee-for-Service system, the tier and the corresponding budget amount are not in effect.
Information about tiering and acuity is available in Section 3.4 of the Supports Program Policies and Procedures Manual. Information about individual budgets is available in the Fee-for-Service Individual Budgets: Quick Reference Guide.
Rutgers Pilot Could Signal a Move Toward Telemedicine
A Rutgers Pilot program could signal a move toward telemedicine for New Jersey. The issue has been debated in committee in the Legislature and various interests have been unable to agree on parameters moving forward. However, many other states have already taken this step and a new Rutgers pilot program may provide a frame of reference for a program in New Jersey. Senator Joe Vitale (D-19), Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services committee reports he is considering holding additional hearings on the issue to determine which providers can participate and how they can be paid.
Rutgers Center for State Health Policy Releases Evaluation of NJ’s 1115 Waiver
The Rutgers Center for State Health Policy’s Draft Interim Evaluation of NJ’s 1115 Waiver is now posted on the DHS website: http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/dmahs/home/Medicaid_Waiver_Interim_Evaluation.pdf
Valerie Sellers Shares Response to Audit Report with Sue Livio of the STAR LEDGER
There is no question that every individual living within the community should receive the best and most appropriate care possible. There are thousands of individuals living within group homes and other supported settings that are, in fact, living safe and fulfilling lives. Poor quality of care is not defensible and lessons will be learned from the auditor’s findings. However, there are circumstances that are often simply beyond the control of providers. For example, agencies are at the mercy of their managed care organizations (MCOs) for the repair or replacement of durable medical equipment, such as a wheelchair. Also, delays in the placement of individuals are often not within control of an agency but rather the control rests with the Developmental Center as to when a client will be released to live within the community. Having said this, pointing fingers serves no useful purpose. The focus must continue to be on providing the best quality of care to all individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities living within our communities as well as those that will eventually reside in communities throughout New Jersey; it should not be on keeping people within Developmental Centers. The findings of this report will help focus on the continued need for the recruitment, training and retention of qualified and committed staff, however, it should not ignore or dismiss the work of thousands of direct support professionals who provide quality care that allows the individuals they serve to live within our communities and as our neighbors.
Read Susan Livio’s Article: Audit: Move to group homes caused problems for some disabled people in N.J.
DDD Announces a Change in the Process for Major Maintenance Funding