Health & Wellness

Press Releases

N.J. Expands Vital Hepatitis C Treatments for Medicaid Enrollees

The New Jersey Department of Human Services on Tuesday announced expanded hepatitis C treatments for all Medicaid enrollees in the state, a policy facilitated by increased funding in the fiscal year 2019 budget. The improvement comes amid ongoing concern about increased infections due to the opioid epidemic and a growing focus on identifying and treating hepatitis C infection among Baby Boomers. 

New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson said that under the new policy, New Jersey Medicaid will cover hepatitis C curative drug treatment once someone is diagnosed with the virus. Previously, individuals in New Jersey were required to wait until their liver had already been damaged before accessing this treatment.

“We can cure hepatitis C and help combat the spread of new infections, and with this major policy change our administration is making clear that we are committed to doing both,” Johnson said.

Sign Up for E-News

 Hepatitis C is a major cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer, and it is the most common reason for liver transplantation in the United States. An estimated 160,000 people in New Jersey have hepatitis C.

Today, hepatitis C drug treatment can cure people living with the virus. However, New Jersey Medicaid had restricted who was eligible for this treatment and required individuals to demonstrate liver damage before receiving curative drug therapy. That meant New Jersey lagged behind other states that provided more comprehensive Medicaid access to hepatitis C treatment. The state budget includes $2.2 million in state funding to make treatment a priority, which will result in an estimated $7.9 million in federal matching funds.   

“This is a welcome and long-awaited new direction for New Jersey,” Johnson said. “The Murphy administration is doing what’s right to ensure healthier lives for New Jersey residents.”

“This is welcome news,” said Joshua Spielberg, chief counsel for the Health Care Access Project at Legal Services New Jersey. “We have advocated for such a change in policy, which will ensure that all Medicaid beneficiaries diagnosed with Hepatitis C have access to effective medication to cure their disease.  It will save lives and save money for the NJ Medicaid program over time.”

New hepatitis C virus infections are increasing most rapidly among young people, with the highest overall number of new infections among 20- to 29-year-olds. The blood-borne hepatitis C virus can be spread by sharing needles to inject heroin or crushed pills.

“Hyacinth AIDS Foundation is elated that Governor Murphy has enacted a progressive and proactive public health measure to test and treat hepatitis,” said Kathy Ahearn-O’Brien, the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation’s executive director. “The funds provided by the administration will ensure that all New Jerseyans have access to live-saving hepatitis C medication immediately upon diagnosis. Hyacinth began working on this issue over two years ago, in partnership with Senator Joseph Vitale, who has long been a champion for the rights of those living with hepatitis. As drug treatments have improved dramatically over the past few years, it makes absolute sense to treat immediately and not wait for the disease to progress to the point that an individual’s quality of life has been severely debilitated. This is a sound public health policy put forth by the Governor and we look forward to a continued partnership as we seek to end the dual epidemics of HIV and hepatitis.”

“Drug Policy Alliance applauds the expansion of Medicaid coverage for hepatitis C treatment,” said Roseanne Scotti, the New Jersey state director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Liver disease, liver cancer and deaths from hepatitis C are on the rise in New Jersey and across the country and strong action is need.  The incredible advances in hepatitis C treatment mean that most people can be cured - if they can access treatment.  The Murphy Administration’s action ensures that thousands of people will be able to access the lifesaving treatment they need.”   

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75 percent of the 3.5 million Americans with hepatitis C are Baby Boomers born from 1945 to 1965.

"AARP is pleased to see that the Administration is committed to expanding Medicaid coverage for hepatitis C drug treatment,” said Evelyn Liebman, AARP New Jersey Director of Advocacy. “Improving access to this care with a focus on early intervention is simply good policy.”

Baby Boomers are six times more likely to be infected with hepatitis C than those in other age groups and are at much greater risk of death from the virus.

“Clearly, this is a long-needed policy change that will prove beneficial to many New Jerseyans,” Johnson said.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Denville

Morristown Happenings: Things to Do in Morristown This Weekend; July 13 - 15

July 13, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Jump for joy....it's the weekend! Don't let Friday the 13th scare you away, there are lots of fun things to do in and around town this weekend! Have a great weekend everyone!

 

Friday July 13

Spirit Animals Glassblowing Class; Morris County School of Glass; 9am - 11am

Mini Summer Camp: Woodsy Walkers; Great Swamp (Chatham); 10am - 11:30am

Tyke ...

US Junior Amateur: Two Top 10 Seeds Remain, Top-seed Kelly Chinn Out in Round of 32

July 20, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - What a difference a day makes.

Thursday’s round of 32, 16 scores

Friday’s quarterfinal matchups
(Quarterfinal winners advance to the afternoon semifinals, starting at 12:18 p.m. EDT)

After the top nine and 13 of the first 14 seeds advanced to the round of 32 Wednesday, chaos ensued on Thursday at the 71st U.S. Junior Amateur Championship on another ...

Morristown Medical Center Health Pavilion Recognized with 2018 New Good Neighbor Award by the NJBIA

July 20, 2018

Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center Health Pavilion in Rockaway, New Jersey was recognized with the 2018 New Good Neighbor Award by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association on Tuesday.

The New Good Neighbor Award recognizes the companies, architects, builders and financial entities whose redevelopment projects have benefited their communities and improved New ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, July 24, 7:00 PM

Kinnelon Public Library, Kinnelon

Northern NJ Libertarian Party Monthly Meeting

Government

Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sings Conclude with Verdi ...

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_4795040bf6b6301f766b_adoptionevent2

Sat, July 28, 2:00 PM

Montville Animal Shelter, Montville

Summer Adoption Event at the Montville Animal ...

Home & Garden Other

To Our Current and Future Representatives

July 17, 2018

To Our Current and Future Representatives - Wherever They May Be:

We can never forget we are a nation of immigrants. 

We cannot fall prey to fear, ignorance and anger when we  have been historically driven by freedom and justice. 

We must have the courage and will to fight hate, bigotry and prejudice. 

We must not wake up to what we hoped was a bad dream and ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.

 

 

People I've Known and Been: Little by Little by Rich Little

People I've Known and Been: Little by Little by Rich Little (Dog Ear Publishing, 2015)

 

Rich Little is a national treasure; a living encyclopedia of movie stars, comedians, and former presidents all wrapped into one dynamic package. Recently, my husband and I had the good fortune to see Little perform at the Tropicana in Las Vegas, where he has been doing his uncanny ...

Lucia, Lucia by Adriani Trigiani

Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2003)

 

If a summer romance novel is what you are craving to read as you sit by the pool or beach, Adriana Trigiani's Lucia, Lucia is a perfect choice. Set in 1950 New York City, the novel is about a young woman, Lucia Sartori, who is determined to have a career and be able to support herself, an unusual choice for a girl who was ...

Crowdfunding Options for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

Source: Many small start-up businesses and tech ventures in search of capital turn to popular online platforms for crowd fundraising of financial resources to get their concept off the ground and launched into market. Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and GoFundMe, to name a few, offer solutions in generating cash to fund new ideas. How do you get people to contribute to your cause?  Sam Burlum ...