“Emergency Funding Needs for the New Jersey Early Intervention System”
In the past 3 years the providers of the New Jersey Early Intervention System have been devastated by the improper handling of the implementation of the Early Intervention Management System (EIMS) back in 2018-2019, and more recently from the effects of COVID19. As a result, provider agencies providing direct services to the children eligible for Part C of IDEA have suffered dramatically losing millions of dollars in reimbursement and jeopardizing the fragile Early Intervention System.
At present, the providers are receiving approximately 65% if their annual revenues with no consideration of financial assistance from the Department of Health. Other Departments in state government have recognized their essential workers with emergency payments to support the continuation of direct services to the most vulnerable citizens of New Jersey.
We believe that the NJDOH should be more innovative in their approach to service delivery by offering incentives to the practitioners and supporting the infrastructure of provider agencies. The fact that practitioner rates effectively have not been increased in the past 16 years is a testament to the lack of recognition of the critical importance of the overall system, avoidance of the forces of competition and cost of living, and the acknowledgement that all eligible children deserve the best opportunity to reach developmental milestones.
We respectfully request consideration for the following:
1. The NJDOH should immediately increase practitioner rates by 7% ($10M in State funds). This includes the 5% reduction in rates levied against he EIS providers back in 2002.
2. The NJDOH should conduct a rate study to determine appropriate rates of reimbursement that take into account the competitive environment and differential factors related to in-home therapeutic supports vs. center-based services; travel for interventionists; and geographic disparities across New Jersey.