CarePlus InsideLIne
 April 2016 - " The time is always right to do what is right." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Fighting the Destabilization of the 
NJ Community-Based Mental Health System

What is the problem?

The New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services is terminating direct state funding for specialized outpatient programs by implementing a Fee-for-Service only model and removing the deficit funding contracts.

What does that mean?

The state plans to eliminate the funds that have been subsidizing behavioral health care for our clients for decades. The deficit funding contracts have provided much needed financial support for operations and have helped to sustain the continuum of care.

Why does it matter?
  • We will need to close admission to new clients on July 1, 2016 and may not be able to serve approximately 1,700 patients as of January 1, 2017.
  • We help the poor and the working poor who otherwise can't afford services.
  • There is a shortage of inpatient beds, which is burdening emergency rooms and hospitals. This will exasperate without the safety-net outpatient services.
  • Many individuals with mental illness are undiagnosed or untreated and end up homeless or incarcerated. There is no hope for these individuals to reintegrate safely into the community without the wraparound outpatient services.
  • The demand for the services we provide is increasing, as demonstrated by the facts that suicide rates are at a 30 year high and New Jersey is in the midst of a heroin and opioid epidemic.
  • "Cutbacks in financing for mental health services have put [police officers] on the front lines of dealing with many people who have psychiatric disorders [...] Police officers have been forced to play dual roles as law enforcers and psychiatric social workers." - New York Times
What is the solution?

Although the state is firm in implementing the new Fee-for-Service only model, it is imperative that we see a longer transition period out of the deficit funding contracts and increases in some of the rates, especially for psychiatric services.

How can we help?

Write a letter or visit your legislators and write to your local news sources. Contact Caitlyn for a list of legislators and a sample letter. Due to the importance of this matter, an All Staff email will be sent early next week with this message and the attachments as well.

Example of opinion editorials and news articles:
We need staff involvement in these advocacy efforts so that we can inform clients, organize families, and take effective action.


HIPAA: What Are Your Professional Responsibilities?
2 Ethics CEUs 
May 19, 2016 - 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Mental Health First Aid
7.5 Clinical CEUs 
June 6, 2016 - 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wellness Technology Available for Clinical and Personal Use 

The myStrength team will be here to train staff on how to use this technology clinically so that clients can benefit from the tools

myStrengthâ„¢ is an innovative online and mobile portal, offering evidence-based
resources to strengthen the whole person-mind, body and spirit. Its simple tools, trusted resources, daily motivational tips, and personalized eLearning programs will help your clients build and sustain mental wellness. Rooted in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the myStrength program is a private resource where your clients and their families and caretakers can learn and practice new ways of managing stress, depression or anxiety.

myStrength is best used in combination with traditional care; it will reinforce core skills for building mental health and provide support when you can't be there.

Contact Shelby if you want to be trained!

SIGN UP TODAY (Personal Account)
1. Visit, and click Sign Up
2. When asked for an Access Code, please enter: CareplusWellness
3. Complete the sign-up process, and begin exploring the site!

We all struggle with our moods at times. Anxious or depressive thoughts can weigh
us down. Some of us may struggle with drugs or alcohol. Seeking help and focusing on your mental health is important.

Now you can use web and mobile tools
to help you get better and stay mentally strong.

myStrength is safe and secure-just for you. It offers personalized resources to improve
your mood. Learning to use myStrength's tools can help overcome the challenges of drug and alcohol abuse.

Contact Caitlyn for more information.

Food Stamp Changes 
As you may or may not know, there have recently been changes to the Food Stamp (SNAP) program that now require clients to participate in an activity in order to continue receiving SNAP benefits. In an effort to better serve our clients, I am providing you with the most up to date information regarding how these changes may affect the clients you are working with and where they can get assistance if needed with the process.
The changes affect SNAP recipients with no dependents between the ages of 19 to 49 that are physically able to work. These clients are required to do 10 hours a week of a work activity. This activity will be monitored by a case manager who will provide the client with timesheets and monitor their attendance in order to provide transportation reimbursement and for continued SNAP benefits. These case managers could be from one of the following entities:
  • The Bergen County One Stop Career Center
  • Bergen County Board of Social Services
  • TW2
  • TM2K
  • WRIC
  • At CarePlus with our To Work case management program.
The most important aspect of these changes, and probably the most alarming for our clients is that if they do not engage in an activity, they are at risk of losing their SNAP benefits for 3 years.

Clients may be exempt from the activity requirements for the following reasons:
  • Under age 18, over age 49
  • Certified as physically or mentally unfit for work
  • Living with and caring for a child or an incapacitated household member
  • Pregnant
  • Receiving Unemployment benefits
  • A regular participate in a drug or alcohol treatment and rehabilitation program
  • Enrolled at least halftime in an institution of higher education
If clients are unsure as to who is their case manager for their SNAP program, they can contact the Bergen County Board of Social Services at (201) 368-4200  or they can contact the Bergen County One Stop at (201) 329-9600. 
If you have any questions, you can feel free to contact Giesel Girona

Courage Awards to Celebrate CarePlus Community and the Power to Change a Lifetime

The CarePlus Foundation will hold its 18th Annual Courage Awards Gala on June 8th, 2016 at the Venetian in Garfield to benefit the clients and programs of CarePlus NJ. The event is the organization's largest fundraiser of the year and is designed to celebrate those who work tirelessly to advocate for mental health.

This year's honorees include Leonard Marshall Jr, former NFL defensive lineman and advocate for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy; Ron Weaver, longtime supporter of CarePlus and owner of Accredited Lock; and Thomas Rosamilia, Vice President of Behavioral Health Services at Bergen Regional Medical Center. The CarePlus Foundation will also present the Compassionate Care Award to Dr. John Bostrom for his work that represents the best care in the field of mental health.

"The Courage Awards capture the spirit of care and compassion that CarePlus has been built upon," said Tara Augustine, Senior Vice President at CarePlus. "Everyone works so hard to overcome challenges and achieve positive outcomes. This event not only celebrates CarePlus, local advocates, and supporters, but also recognizes the efforts and successes of the individuals that benefit from our services."

Every year a portion of the evening is dedicated to individuals enrolled in CarePlus services that are pursuing their educational goals. In 2015 the CarePlus Foundation awarded $55,000 in scholarships to support these efforts. The remainder of the funding that is raised through the Courage Awards Gala is used for housing and medication assistance, as well as to fund addiction services, outpatient therapy for children and adults, child abuse intervention and much more.

"This year we are embracing the theme of 'The Power to Change a Lifetime' to highlight the significant role that CarePlus has played in so many lives," continued Augustine. "We believe in working with the people that we serve so that they take an active part in their healthcare. We help to empower these individuals and families so that they can achieve and sustain wellness on many levels."

Special Staff Pricing Available! 
Have you noticed

Be sure to check out the new, mobile-friendly site! 
Save the Dates!
June 8th
18th Annual Courage Awards Gala
at the Venetian in Garfield
September 26th
5th Annual Golfers Give Back
Charity Golf Outing at White Beeches
Golf & Country Club in Haworth
Our final Gala meetings will be held on
May 10th at 6 pm in the Board Room. 
Your support is helpful and valued. 
Contact Alexis for more information.
Humans of CarePlus

As a way of combating stigma and creating a better understanding of the work that staff and clients do at CarePlus, we will be launching a "Humans of CarePlus" Instagram account in May as a campaign for Mental Health Awareness month.

We need your help: if you are a staff member that would be willing to participate, or if you have a client that has a story to tell please contact Caitlyn.

We will be able to work with people who would like to remain anonymous, and think that this will be a very cool way to increase our culture of community and compassion.
Employee Assistance Program

Did you know that you have access to resources pertaining to everyday life right at your fingertips?  Get educated on what is available to you through the CarePlus EAP. With this Employee Assistance Program, you will have access to information and resources for family, health, money and much more.   
Be sure to explore the website: 
Login: CPNJ Password: 123  
Webinar of the Month 
"Beating the Blues"
Available On Demand
Starting 12pm Eastern Time 

We all feel sad sometimes. Get techniques for beating the blues, and learn to recognize the difference between sadness and depression.

If you have any questions, please contact Susan Bell in the Human Resources Department at or call 201-843-5218, extension 5211.

The CarePlus Foundation will honor former NFL star Leonard A. Marshall at the 18th Annual Courage Awards Gala on Wednesday Junes 8th at the Venetian in Garfield, NJ.

Marshall spent twelve seasons on NFL fields and played as a defensive end of the Giants for ten of those seasons. He was a starter when the Giants won Super Bowl XXI and XXV. Unfortunately, traumatic brain injury came with his success in the league. His struggle with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) inspired him to become an advocate for the disease.

The effects of brain injury and concussions have recently come into the spotlight. Repetitive head trauma can lead to the development of CTE, which is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain. Many professional athletes are vulnerable because of the nature of the game, specifically in contact sports. Even the NFL has started to do their part to educate the public and spread awareness around the issue.

"A lot of us who have experienced this disease first hand are doing our best to pay it forward," explained Marshall. "There are a lot of individuals and families out there that are swimming for knowledge about traumatic brain injury and cognitive disabilities as they relate to professional sports."

Marshall is one of the individuals that have been diagnosed with CTE, but it can be argued that there are many more who have developed the disease without diagnosis. Some cognitive symptoms that may manifest with the onset of CTE include dementia and depression.

"What we're seeing now is just the beginning. The newness of CTE is going to wear out soon," Marshall continued. "We are going to see a lot of wear and tear left in the wakes of those who suffer. The attributes associated with cognitive disabilities are intense. There are some really tragic endings to these stories. That's why it's so important to be aware and catch it early."

The CarePlus Foundation is proud to recognize Marshall for his outstanding efforts of advocacy. The organization noted the importance of determining where physical and mental health needs overlap, which is the CarePlus expertise. The integrated approach to primary and behavioral healthcare can give providers the tools needed to make those distinctions and prescribe the most effective treatment plans.

Marshall has had great success off the field as well. He continues to give back and be a part of the local community as a professor of Finance and Sports Management at Seton Hall University, a coach for Paramus Catholic High School, and more.

In addition to educating on how to avoid and treat head injuries in sports, he has also earned degrees and certifications in business administration, management and finance. CarePlus has expressed their gratitude to Marshall's willingness to connect the organization with opportunities for corporate sponsorship.

"The stability and sustainability of our states mental health system is threatened at this time," remarked Joe Masciandaro, CEO and President and CarePlus. "Philanthropic and forward thinking individuals such as Mr. Marshall are the hope that the system needs."

The Courage Awards Gala includes a cocktail hour, dinner, live and silent auctions, a 50/50 raffle and more. Attendees are expected from across the state, including local community partners, state representatives and supporters from the Northern New Jersey business community. Individual tickets are available at $175 each, with full tables of 10 offered for $1,500.

The CarePlus Foundation is currently welcoming dinner guests, sponsors, and auction donations. For more information, click here or call 201-986-5070.

Do YOU have a story to share? If you have a story, update, announcement, photos to share here, on Facebook, or on the website send it to the ACE team and we will work to get it out to staff and friends of CarePlus.
Program Marketing 
It is important staff to familiarize themselves with the variety of program and services offered through CarePlus so that we can make appropriate referrals for those in need. For that reason, we are working on streamlining information and materials so that they are more easily accessible.

This involves appropriately updated Program Fact Sheets, comprehensive marketing folders, social media spotlights, and up to date information on the CarePlus website.

A new folder has been added to the M Drive so that staff can quickly access Program Information Sheets. These Fact Sheets can be found in the first folder in 999 General titled _FactSheets.  

If you need any materials created, revised, or printed for your program or presentations you will need to utilize the electronic request form. This new system is being used to ensure timely and effective completion of projects.   


You may have noticed recent Facebook posts highlighting some of our services. This is the part of our effort to market each of our programs to the community.


If you would like to put your team, group or program in the spotlight, contact the ACE team to make arrangements.


 You can also send positive reviews and feedback for coworkers and clients that go above and beyond. If you have anything you would like to submit for the InsideLine, email your story and  information to Caitlyn Yerves.

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be sure to "Like" Care Plus NJ on Facebook!
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What is STIGMA?

Posters and flyers are available to print from our website. Be sure to download it and share it with staff and clients! 

Obligatory disclaimer ("the gray area"): This newsletter is compiled by humans, and you know how humans are: we make occasional mistakes - not too many, but they do happen. Please do not consider a rush in judgment. We - "the humans" - apologize in advance for any omissions, inaccuracies, misspellings, and flagrant discombobulations. Should you desire to suggest a correction or addition, please email Caitlyn.

You can even just email if you'd like to say you do (or do not) like the Inside Line, however no cursing or inflammatory remarks, please, as we are humans.