TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Paul A. Sarlo which would change language in the Fiscal Year 2005 budget to provide more funding for medical day care providers was signed into law today by Governor Richard J. Codey.
“The State’s medical day care providers offer New Jersey’s residents an invaluable service, providing top notch care for those who would otherwise be without,” said Senator Sarlo. “Whether caring for disabled adults or children with unique medical needs, medical day care facilities extend critical care to an underserved population, and the State must provide the support and resources necessary to help them fulfill their mission.”
Senator Sarlo’s bill, S-2090, will repeal budget language in the FY2005 budget that limited reimbursement to medical day care facilities to FY 2004 levels. The original rationale for capping reimbursement was to review reports of mismanagement in the medical day care community, particularly that facilities were providing care for ineligible State residents that did not meet Medicaid requirements while eligible residents could not access services. However, with newly adopted regulations and a new screening process, the Senator argued that the limitations on reimbursement are no longer necessary.
“The medical day care providers have addressed the questions the State had concerning their performance, and have moved on to provide excellent care in New Jersey,” said Senator Sarlo. “We shouldn’t continue punishing a new system for the mistakes of the past.”
Senator Sarlo said that according to fiscal estimates compiled by the Office of Legislative Services (OLS), his bill will make approximately $1.8 million available to medical day care facilities to expand the services offered.
“Through the bill, we’ve taken steps to ensure that the $1.8 million that medical day care providers will receive will go directly towards improving patient care,” said Senator Sarlo. “These funds are being made available to expand the already-excellent care that medical day care patients receive. We should have safeguards in place to put these funds where they can do the most good.”
Senator Sarlo added that by investing in New Jersey’s medical day care facilities, the State can avoid a larger number of enrollees in more expensive nursing home settings for the elderly and disabled.
“By making medical day care available to State residents who are better suited for life outside of a nursing home environment, we are allowing those residents to retain some of their independence while at the same time avoiding the more costly nursing homes,” said Senator Sarlo. “Medical day care facilities are a less-expensive solution to help those citizens who have a need for medical attention but are not necessarily at the point where they need to enter an institutionalized setting. By promoting medical day care as a viable alternative to nursing homes for those patients who can take advantage of it, we can maximize the benefit of our State health care dollars.”
The bill was unanimously approved by the Senate and the Assembly in March.