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Singleton, Ruiz Bill to Expand Medicaid Coverage for Community Violence Prevention Services Advances


Trenton – Aimed at disrupting the cycle of violence in underserved communities, the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton and Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz that would require Medicaid coverage for community violence prevention services.

“Medicaid is a lifeline for low-income families, and by requiring coverage for community violence prevention services we can better protect people from the cycles of violence that threaten their communities,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “This coverage is critical throughout the duration of a survivor’s physical and psychological recovery, and this legislation will ensure that Medicaid recipients have access to treatment when they need it the most.”

The bill, S-1407, would require Medicaid coverage for community violence prevention services for beneficiaries who receive medical treatment for an injury resulting from an act of community violence. It would also require Medicaid coverage for recipients who have been referred by a certified health care or social services provider to receive community violence prevention services, when a provider determines that the beneficiary would be at an elevated risk of violent injury or retaliation from another act of community violence.

“Prioritizing the health and safety of our communities is paramount. This legislation not only addresses the immediate needs of those affected by community violence but also lays the foundation for long-term prevention and support,” said Majority Leader Ruiz (D-Essex/Hudson). “By ensuring access to certified violence prevention professionals and comprehensive services, we’re investing in resilience, healing, and ultimately, a brighter future for all.”

Under the bill, the Department of Health would be directed to approve at least one accredited training and certification program for certified violence prevention professionals. The program would include a minimum of 35 hours of initial training and at least six hours of continued education every two years.

Community violence is defined as an act of physical force between unrelated individuals in a public space, including fights among groups and shootings in public spaces. Community violence prevention services could include conflict mediation, crisis intervention, and screening services for victims of community violence.

The bill was advanced in a unanimous vote.