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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
January 10, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Juvenile Justice Commission
- Howard L. Beyer, Executive Director

 

Sharon Lauchaire
609-292-2288

 
 

JJC Redesigns Healthcare for Youth

Institutes In-House Medical Care and Partners with UMDNJ for Mental Health Services


TRENTON - The Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) is now providing 'in-house' medical care to approximately 650 youth in its secure facilities, and has arranged, by contract, for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey to provide youth with mental health services. The changes are part of an ongoing effort to streamline and enhance the delivery of healthcare services throughout the JJC system.

The JJC began delivering medical services “in-house” to the approximately 650 youth in secure facilities on January 1, 2005. Also beginning with start of the new year, the University of Medicine and Dentistry began serving youth with mental health issues.

Previously, the JJC’s medical needs were covered under a contract between the Department of Corrections and a medical services provider. With the medical services contract set to expire, the JJC took the opportunity to rethink the quality of healthcare for the young people in its care.

“As the Juvenile Justice Commission focuses on rehabilitating youth and returning them to society as productive citizens, we must continue to recognize and address their special needs. The New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission aims to respond to the needs of the whole child - physical, emotional and behavioral,” said Howard L. Beyer, Executive Director Juvenile Justice Commission. “The medical services will be cost effective, responsive, and inasmuch as the residents are adolescent, the care will also be preventative and include education. Adolescence is a developmental stage and learning how to care of yourself is part of it. Youth need to be both treated and taught about what is medically important if we are to expect them to return to society and live productive lives.”

The JJC’s new Healthcare Administrator, Harold Brown of Atco, and the JJC administration have spent the last few months setting up the new unit. Brown holds an MBA from Rutgers University in Healthcare Administration and Finance. His BA is from the University of Pittsburgh, where he majored in economics and minored in chemistry. He is also active in the community, having served as a mentor and tutor and was named as a Community Foundation/Whitehead Fund Fellow. Most recently he was employed by the Greenbriar Healthcare Center as Assistant Administrator and served as the chair of its Infection Control, Quality Improvement and Safety Committee.

“As the Healthcare Administrator for the Juvenile Justice Commission, I am excited about this opportunity to participate in the creation of a better healthcare system for our youth, “ said Brown. “I am looking forward to playing my part in such a collaborative focus aimed at increasing the quality of healthcare services which meet residents at the level of their unique and individual needs. My goal is to structure a comprehensive and fluid health service model that provides quality, appropriate and timely healthcare services.”

The JJC has hired approximately 35 new employees including physicians, nurses and support staff to ensure that youth receive suitable medical attention. The medical staff are assigned to the five secure care facilities: New Jersey Training School in Monroe Township, the Life Skills and Leadership Academy located in Tabernacle, and Juvenile Medium Secure Facility, Juvenile Reception and Assessment Center, and the Female Secure Care and Intake Facility located on the JJC’s campus in Bordentown. The doctors and nurses will address all medical concerns including gender specific issues.

The JJC has also hired Dr. Mahmooda Raza, a pediatric specialist. She will be responsible for coordinating physical health care for all JJC youth. Dr. Raza resides in Trenton.

Through a partnership between the JJC and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), the JJC is also providing in-house mental health services as of January through a contract with UMDNJ-University Behavioral HealthCare.

“Nearly, two thirds of the juveniles committed to the JJC are diagnosed with at least one mental health problem including anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress syndrome, depression, and substance abuse dependency,” said the Executive Director. “We are thrilled at the JJC to be able to partner with an organization of such esteem and professionalism as UMDNJ. Through our partnership with UMDNJ, we are strengthening our ability to identify each juvenile’s needs and address them. It is, simply put, the right thing to do,” said Beyer.

Christopher Kosseff, President and Chief Executive Officer at UMDNJ’s University Behavioral HealthCare commented, “UMDNJ is excited about the partnership with the Juvenile Justice Commission. We share a deep concern for the youth of New Jersey and a belief that, working together, we can alter the course of some troubled youth. The investment in high quality mental health care for incarcerated youth will have significant benefits. Juveniles, suffering with mental illness, will get the treatment they need to live their lives more appropriately. This will also help to create safer communities. The correctional facilities will be safer also because youth will have their symptoms more effectively controlled. UMDNJ views the partnership with the Juvenile Justice Commission as an important new service to New Jersey.”

Beyer noted that Kosseff has been named to an 11-member mental health task force created by Acting Governor Richard J. Codey. The task force mission is to study mental health issues in New Jersey, and to identify and implement strategies for helping the mentally ill lead better lives. Under an executive order signed by the Acting Governor, the task force will hold public hearings, convene a statewide Mental Health Summit, and form advisory committees to help it identify and address areas of need. The task force recently held its inaugural meeting at the JJC’s Female Secure Care and Intake Facility.

“We are changing the way medical services have been delivered because we know we can do a better job when the medical staff are the employees of the Commission and are sensitive to youth,” concluded Beyer.

In order to deliver full service healthcare, the JJC is contracting for service for those needs that cannot be met on site. St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton will provide hospitalization. Correctional Dental Associates was recently awarded a three year contract. JJC secure facilities are already equipped with dentistry instruments. These services will be provided on-site.

For more information visit: njjjc.com.

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