TRENTON – Senator Joseph Vitale issued the following statement after a joint hearing, held today of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and the Assembly Human Services Committee, to gauge the impact of Gov. Christie’s proposed plan to shift the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services’ functions, along with employees and nearly $1 billion, from the Department of Human Services to the Department of Health:
“Our first priority is to ensure the best care of those who receive addiction, mental health and other services and there is certainly merit to the argument that residents deserve better coordinated care. However, I have questions and concerns about how moving the division from one building to another, and from one commissioner to another, will address the challenges that go along with the myriad services it provides. I also question the timing of such a move when the majority of this very complex transition would happen under a new administration.
“We are going to consider all of the testimony from the hearing, including that which was submitted by stakeholders who were unable to attend, and then make a recommendation to the Senate President on how best to move forward.”