TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Joseph F. Vitale which would expand the scope of the New Jersey Disease Management Study Commission to examine how disease management programs can reduce costs for Medicaid and NJ Family Care was approved by the Senate today by a vote of 37-0.
“Disease management has shown itself to be an effective tool in lowering the overall cost of health care,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. “By focusing on preventative medicine, rather than emergency doctor’s visits, we can lower the overall cost to New Jersey’s subsidized health care programs. I think this is an avenue we must pursue, in order to make the most of healthcare dollars in New Jersey.”
The bill, S-2203, would amend the current law establishing the Disease Management Study Commission to expand the focus of the panel. The bill would direct the panel to consider the impact disease management programs can have on health care subsidy programs for New Jersey’s uninsured, such as NJ FamilyCare and Medicaid. Senator Vitale noted that chronic diseases generate nearly 78 percent of the health care expenditures in the United States, and proper management could make New Jersey’s programs more effective at meeting the health care needs of the State’s uninsured population.
“With the federal government possibly shirking its responsibility to provide affordable healthcare to those in need, we need to make every penny count,” said Senator Vitale. “Shortfalls in the federal S-CHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) initiative could greatly reduce the amount of money we have to provide health coverage to the uninsured. We need to take every possible action to maximize New Jersey’s investment in healthcare for the uninsured, to maintain our commitment to those in need in the Garden State.”
Senator Vitale’s bill now heads to the Assembly for consideration.