November 28, 2023
As workforce challenges continue to impact the New Jersey Department of Children and Families' (DCF's) provider network, DCF has share an update on its related work to address the issue.
Since June 2023:
The state's Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) budget allocated $5 million to a behavioral health loan redemption program, administered by the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA). This program accepted applications during October 2023 and will announce selected program participants in January 2024.
DCF and the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) are working together to develop additional workforce investments that can be made for providers of Medicaid home and community based services (HCBS), leveraging one-time federal funding.
DCF received proposals for contractual and other flexibilities for services delivered through the Children's System of Care (CSOC). Through this effort, DCF has modified staff education and experience requirements, documentation timeframes, and service delivery methods for more than three dozen program types.
DCF will soon establish workgroups to organize efforts to review and vet potential legal, regulatory, or contractual changes for additional service lines. DCF will be reaching out to specific individuals and organizations to ascertain interest in participating in those workgroups, and based on the pool of interested participants, DCF will attempt to build working groups that represent the full spectrum of programs in terms of program size, type, and geographic location. DCF expects to convene workgroups for specific service lines on an ad hoc basis.
Additionally, DCF and DHS are exploring strategies to support and secure timely provider licensure and certifications.
DCF also noted that budget planning for state FY2025 is already under way, and they encourage interested individuals and organizations to be advocate to their respective legislators for any specific budgetary needs they may have.