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Vitale Bill To Expand Scope Of Disease Management Study Commission

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 Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee by a vote of 9-0.

“Disease management programs have been successful in helping those who live with, or are at risk of developing, chronic medical conditions cope with their illnesses,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Chair of the Senate health panel. “Disease management has been cited as improving the quality of life for those living with chronic disease, promoting positive medical outcomes and more effective treatment. Coupled with our State’s programs to provide low- or no-cost health care, we can make the most of our health care dollars.”

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.

“We know we’re operating with a limited pot of money for public health care programs, and we need to do everything we can to maximize our State’s investment in covering the uninsured,” said Senator Vitale. “More than one million New Jerseyans do not have health insurance, and as we move ahead with efforts to provide for universal health care, we need to address the high cost of providing that care. If we do not take steps to cut down on the cost of health care in the Garden State, universal health care will always be out of our reach.”

Senator Vitale’s bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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