Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman recently announced the Department has awarded contracts to expand substance use disorder outpatient treatment service hours in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean, and Passaic counties.
Providers can begin increasing hours as soon as possible, and no later than within three months.
“We at Human Services understand that individuals with substance use disorder more readily seek treatment when services are available at times that accommodate their work, school, and family obligations,” Commissioner Adelman said. “That is why the Department is pleased to award contracts that remove traditional barriers to treatment and make it easier for individuals to access medication that can support recovery in outpatient care while fulfilling their personal needs.”
The $2 million program will be paid for through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) American Rescue Plan Act. The program will be implemented in Atlantic County by John Brooks Recovery Center; Burlington, Camden, Essex and Mercer counties by Oaks Integrated Care; Hudson County by Integrity, Inc.; Hunterdon County by Hunterdon Medical Center; Monmouth County by New Hope Integrated Behavioral Health Care; Ocean County by Bright Harbor Healthcare; and Passaic County by Eva’s Village. Services are expected to start early next year.
Interested agencies submitted proposals that were scored, and awards were made based on that scoring.
Human Services is focusing the expanded outpatient service hours on high-need areas.
Funds will be used to ensure providers implement three additional service hours per day, a minimum of six days per week.
The intention is to extend hours into the evening and admit new individuals into services during these times. The end goal is to make these services available across the state.
“These contracts work to ensure individuals are able to attend treatment uninterrupted and receive ongoing care,” said Deputy Commissioner of Health Services Lisa Asare. “Continuous treatment is key to lasting recovery and we look forward to implementing expanded treatment hours throughout the state. We are committed to ensuring all New Jerseyans receive equitable access to medication that can support recovery.”
Services include outpatient hours of operation for individual, group and/or family sessions; medication monitoring; screening for acute medical conditions and co-occurring mental health issues; and education on the use of naloxone. These services increase access to care by removing traditional barriers to engagement and ongoing treatment.
Outpatient services work to support the development of a client’s life skills in order to maximize their individual functioning during alternate times from traditional hours. Clients and staff work together in outpatient services to plan and implement effective treatment.
“It is important to make it easier for individuals who face substance abuse challenges to access treatment,” said Assistant Commissioner Valerie Mielke, who directs the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services that will oversee the initiative. “Removing traditional barriers to treatment will help ensure more New Jerseyans in need are provided with help when they need it most through outpatient care.”
The contracts build on previous efforts to provide similar services. Last year, Human Services awarded contracts to Atlantic, Gloucester, Hudson, Mercer, Ocean, and Union counties to develop the ability to expand treatment service hours for opioid use disorder.
Based on the expansion of services by these agencies, it’s estimated that each agency under this plan will be able to serve about 30 to 50 more individuals per month, by providing more flexible office hours.
Under the Murphy Administration, Human Services has also worked to provide recovery supports for college students with substance use disorder; expanded access to life-saving naloxone through the Naloxone Distribution Program; created additional recovery centers to support individuals with substance use disorder; and provided cultural competency training to opioid treatment providers to reduce the treatment gap experienced by Black residents.
“I continue to urge anyone needing help to call ReachNJ.GOV – New Jersey’s Addiction Helpline at 1-844-ReachNJ,” Commissioner Adelman said. “Treatment works and it is never too late to start the journey to recovery.”