In a significant move to address health disparities and enhance care for individuals with sickle cell disease (SCD) in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation appropriating $10.2 million for a three-year SCD pilot program. The program, overseen by the Department of Health (DOH) in collaboration with the Department of Human Services, aims to establish comprehensive SCD treatment programs and services. Federally Qualified Health Centers will be competitively selected to participate, prioritizing centers in Jersey City, Newark, Paterson, Plainfield, Trenton, and Camden. The funding will support initiatives such as linking outpatient and inpatient SCD care, providing coordinated medical and behavioral health services, fostering outreach and education, and establishing data collection practices for monitoring disease demographics, prevalence, and healthcare utilization.
Governor Murphy expressed pride in signing the legislation, highlighting the disproportionate impact of SCD on the Black community and the need to close health disparities. The pilot program, a collaborative effort with Federally Qualified Health Centers, is expected to improve health outcomes for underserved populations, ensuring access to comprehensive and equitable healthcare services. Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Kaitlan Baston emphasized the program’s potential to connect specialty SCD care with affected individuals in key communities, ultimately increasing access and awareness. At the same time, Commissioner of Human Services Sarah Adelman highlighted the impact on NJ FamilyCare members seeking SCD care, aiming to prevent hospital stays and acute crises through the pilot initiative.
Overall, the program seeks to create a regional system of specialty care units, addressing challenges in accessing specialized care for SCD patients and breaking down racial disparities in healthcare systems.
Read more: https://www.nj.gov/governor/news/news/562024/approved/20240108d.shtml
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