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Damminger Calls Out State for Decreasing their Share of Funding for Psych Patients The change in the State's funding will require Gloucester County to pay 17.5% more while meeting a state mandated 2% cap

(Woodbury, NJ) - Gloucester County Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger said the State's Department of Human Services is increasing its daily charge for certain patients at state institutions by 17.5%. In addition, the per diem rate for care of patients at state institutions has been increased 28.5% over the last two years for the patients. Simultaneously, the county is required to stay under a 2% budget cap.

"This is the height of hypocrisy and we have to speak up and oppose this increase being arbitrarily placed upon the county," said Director Damminger.

"I am sponsoring a resolution to oppose this increase because the State has mandated a 2% cap on spending increases for the county. We can live with that cap, but for the State to start telling us they are going to pay less and the county will have to pick up their share, while dramatically increasing the total cost without any explanation or justification is wrong and they need to hear our message," Director Damminger said.

In addition to the increase in the per diem rates the New Jersey Department of Human Services amended the distribution of per diem rates for care of patients at State institutions for institutionalized residents from the State paying 90% and the County paying 10%. Over the past two years the State has moved to pay 85% with the County paying 15%; resulting in a 50% increase in the County's share for this care.

"I am not opposing to the county paying its fair share for patients in state institutions, but I am opposed to the fact that the State told us in late December that the cost of housing to those patients has increased 17.52% in 2011. They offered us no analysis and no justification for the increase. That is much more than the 2% we are required to live under," stated Damminger.

Damminger's resolution will set forth the County's opposition to the increase in the 2011 County per diem rates for care of patients at State Institutions. The increase will cost the county approximately $42,000 more in 2011. Damminger said that if adopted at tomorrow night's meeting the resolution opposing the cost increase will be forwarded to the Governor and the New Jersey Department of Human Services, and to the New Jersey Association of Counties so they can share it with the other 20 counties.

"This impacts Gloucester County's taxpayers, but it will also impact every county. If we don't speak up now, who knows what programs the state will tell us to pay more for while they choose to pay less," Damminger said.