News Archives 2013
Autism New Jersey Testifies at Insurance Committee Hearing
March 7, 2013
Trenton, NJ -- In response to community concerns about insurance carriers’ inconsistent compliance with provisions of the state-regulated healthcare plans, a hearing was convened by the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee on Thursday, March 7, 2013. Committee Chair Gary Schaer, (D-36), Passaic, presided over testimony of family members and advocates, including Autism New Jersey and attorney Jodi Bouer, as well as Ward Sanders, an insurance industry spokesperson. Chairman Schaer promised a second hearing in six months and acknowledged Committee concerns that the issues discussed were substantive.
If you are having problems accessing insurance coverage, please call us at 800.4.AUTISM.
To read Autism New Jersey's Testimony, click here.
To read Sue Livio's coverage in the Star Ledger, click here.
Governor Christie Announces Settlement of Olmstead Lawsuit
February 26, 2013
Trenton, NJ -- In his annual State Budget Address, Governor Christie announced a settlement of the Olmstead lawsuit brought by Disability Rights New Jersey against the state.
Today, I am proud to announce that we have settled an eight-year-old Olmstead lawsuit with Disability Rights New Jersey. The suit claimed that New Jersey was not complying with U.S. Supreme Court mandates to allow people with developmental disabilities to live in the least restrictive and most appropriate setting. In response, we have increased funding for community-based services; we have reduced the waiting list for in-home supports and services, and we have expanded group homes and supported living options.
We all know New Jersey’s sad history of over institutionalization. We have institutionalized more citizens than any state other than Texas. It is shameful. It is ineffective. And, in this Administration, it is ending. We are allowing people with disabilities to live where they and their families want them to live: at home, in the community, among family and friends. So this suit is settled.
But to continue this progress, my budget includes $83 million for community placements and services for those with developmental disabilities.
To read the full text of the Governor's address, click here.
To read DRNJ's statement on the settlement, click here.
Governor Holds Special Breakfast for New Jersey Autism Community
April 11, 2013
Princeton, NJ -- Hosting an event to honor Autism Awareness Month at Drumthwacket on Thursday, April 11, 2013, Governor Chris Christie stated that he is personally committed to advocating for individuals with autism and their families in New Jersey. Accompanied by Department of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez, DDD Deputy Director Dawn Apgar and DCF Deputy Director for Programs and Services Jeffrey Guenzel, the Governor urged the autism community to be a 'united force' and to involve legislators in their advocacy to support needed programs.
Parents and advocates articulated the urgent needs of the autism community and emphasized the importance of enhancing the capacity of the adult service system. The Governor responded he is intimately aware of the problems and is actively working on systemic improvements. Commissioner Velez responded enthusiastically as audience members described their successful efforts developing employment opportunities and offered the support of the Department of Human Services. Concerns regarding educational services and after-school care were also raised. The Governor responded to each concern by explaining the context in which these systems operate and that he is working with his Cabinet to maximize the resources the State Budget affords. In addition to lamenting the State’s finite resources, the Governor expressed his frustration with the slow pace of educational reform and the lack of flexibility in how school districts are funded.
Autism New Jersey Directors Dr. Suzanne Buchanan and Bob Titus were among the invitees, along with former Autism New Jersey Board President, Dr. Michael Aquino, Board Member, James Grasselino and Autism New Jersey members and valued supporters Anthony Kelly and Kelly Milazzo.
Governor's 2014 Budget Address Reinforces Commitment to Autism
March 11, 2013
Trenton, NJ -- In his 2014 Budget Address given to the Senate and Assembly on February 26, 2013, Governor Christie reaffirmed his commitment to the autism community and outlined several key funding provisions and announcements. Read more>>
New DDD Eligibility Rule Could Affect Eligibility
The Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) issued a new rule that went into effect on January 22, 2013 requiring all individuals 21 and older, who are eligible to receive DDD services, to now also be Medicaid eligible by March 23, 2013 or the individual is in danger of losing services. Read more>>