Governor Chris Christie will end his term on January 16, 2018. In his last year as a lawmaker, he pursued to solve the opioid epidemic that has put in jeopardy the health of the citizens of New Jersey. This is why he has created an anti-addiction agenda. However, there are several concerns regarding the high costs that some of the measures require. The authorities are also facing a shortage of available treatment beds.
On Monday, new legislation was advanced by both the Assembly committees and the Senate. According to this document, people that have insurance will benefit a number of 180 days of substance-abuse treatment. As long as insurance covers them, they will not need any authorization for entering the program. The doctor, psychiatrist, or psychologist of the person will need to confirm that he or she needs the treatment from a medical point of view. Moreover, the insurer can reassess the necessity of the inpatient substance-abuse treatment after a period of 28 days.
On the other hand, the insurance companies are worried about the new measure. The costs of inpatient treatments that have to last for 180 days would be too high for usual citizens. The New Jersey Business and Industry Association cannot measure the value of additional expenses for its members as they have limited controls over the program.
The president of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in New Jersey, Wayne Wirta, doesn’t see the efforts of the states against opioid epidemic to be much efficient. On the contrary, this fight remained a major concern since the 90’s without any clear solution. The CEO of the National Council encourages the states to collaborate with insurance companies in this case.
Together with the six-month substance-abuse treatment, the new measure also considers five days of opioids prescription if the patients go through too painful times. After 28 days of partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient or inpatient services, the patient will be able to review the adopted measure. The feedbacks will have to be made based on a clinical tool that the authorities have chosen.
The new bill will focus more on improving the health quality of the citizens and less on economic factors. On the other hand, this program requires not only extensive funds but also a large number of treatment beds. These factors make it clear that New Jersey will have to go to great length before seeing any positive result after the implementation of this new measure.
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