An Inequitable New Jersey Part C Early Intervention System

Published On: June 1st, 2020Categories: Archived Advocacy

“An Inequitable New Jersey Part C Early Intervention System”

Of the four segments funded under the Part C, Early Intervention System in the State of New Jersey, the 50+ Early Intervention provider agencies have suffered countless funding inequities over the past 18 years and continue to shoulder the financial burden of any and all changes that occur in the system, either by design or through business interruption. The primary funding model established in 2002 transitioned the providers from a grant-based model to a fee-for-service methodology. The other components of the Early Intervention System (New Jersey Department of Health, Part C Office, (4) Regional Intervention Collaboratives, and the 21 Service Coordination Units, continue to be protected from any state-wide design changes or unanticipated economic downturns. Essentially, their funding grants continue in full or have been increased throughout the years, while the provider agencies must dramatically adjust their business models to accommodate system changes and disruptions.

The following two examples represent the most devastation to the Early Intervention Providers in the past
three years:

1. The implementation of the NJDOH Early Intervention Management Information System in December of 2018 resulted in a 2-year funding nightmare where provider agencies were completely disadvantaged resulting in the following:
• An inability to be paid for services rendered in a timely manner
• The need to access bank loans and lines of credit to manage cash-flow shortfalls
• The data entry of critical information disproportionately landed on the shoulders of the providers
• Increased expenses after being promised by the NJDOH that the EIMS would decrease costs throughout the system

Fortunately, members of the Legislature were influential in advocating for advance payments to providers that avoided the closure of many companies. Note, during this period of dysfunction, the other three grant-funded components continued to receive their regular funding regardless of the system changes.

2. The March 2020 State-wide shutdown due to COVID-19 forced a dramatic change to the service delivery model in New Jersey. Although the system transitioned from an in-home face-to-face model to telehealth, the process included 2-weeks where no services were allowed to be provided, and another 2-weeks where families were given flexibility to “think about” their service options causing a catastrophic reduction in service delivery. To date, the system is only up to 55% utilization resulting in major adjustments by the provider agencies including lay-offs, furloughs and applications to the Small Business Administration to remain afloat. Note, during this state of emergency, the other three grant-funded components continued to receive their regular funding regardless of this significant business interruption.

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