Deja vu for New Jersey's addiction program

Governor Murphy is reversing a decision made in the waning days of the Christie Administration.

David Madden
June 22, 2018 - 9:00 pm
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy

Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK

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TRENTON, NJ (KYW Newsradio) -- New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is reversing a decision made in the waning days of the Christie Administration that transferred control on mental health and addiction programs from one department to another. 
    
Officials say it's being done for the sake of efficiency.
    
Former Governor Chris Christie moved the programs to the Department of Health, making the same efficiency claim at the time. Murphy is putting them back with the Department of Human Services. DHS Commissioner Carole Johnson says the state helps pay for health care for some 1.7 million low income people.
    
"The view of our administration is that it makes sense to have the mental health and substance use disorder services that many of that same population need here in the same department with our Medicaid program," Johnson told KYW Newsradio.
    
What's the bottom line for those getting help in the $1.2 billion program? Johnson says recipients should see no change in services. That's the same promise made in the original switch.
    
"We not only run the Medicaid program," she added, "but we also run a number of the social services programs that help support people who have mental health and substance use disorders and need other assistance being able to get on the path to recovery."
    
And she suggests some of those ancillary programs may get a bit more help.
    
Murphy's decision takes effect in mid-August, allowing time for public comment and revision.