Trenton – In an effort to protect New Jersey residents receiving care for mental health, behavioral health and addiction services, the Senate today approved a bill sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator Richard Codey that would ensure and improve the delivery of these services through state contracts without disruption.
The bill, S-2708, would require state contracts to contain a commitment that service will not be disrupted or delayed by labor disputes.
“Mental and behavioral health services are critical to the health, safety and well-being of all New Jersey residents,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “The recipients of these services are our state’s most vulnerable population and any disruption, whether in the middle of a pandemic or not, can be life threatening and even endanger the public at large. These workers are essential and they deserve all the protections we can provide.”
“Any disruption in the care and support of those receiving mental health services can have a serious impact,” said Senator Codey (D-Essex). “Continuity is important for the patients and the caregivers. We have to be especially vigilant during the pandemic because of the toll it can take on the well-being of those who are managing mental health issues.”
Under a temporary provision in the bill, during the COVID-19 State of Emergency, service providers contracting with the state are required to outfit their employees with proper personal protective equipment, regular testing, reporting and training.
The bill was approved with a vote of 34-0.