NJII Takes on Opioid Crisis at 7th Annual Medicaid Conference

The Healthcare Division of the New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII), an NJIT corporation, is hosting a free event in November to discuss the role Health Information Technology (HIT) can play in addressing the Garden State’s opioid crisis. 

NJII’s 7th Annual Medicaid Conference – titled “HIT Strategies: Addressing the Opioid Crisis” – will be held November 6th from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the university’s campus in Newark, at 355 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. It is open to all Medicare and Medicaid providers working in the state, along with interested healthcare practitioners and related information technology providers. Space is limited, so if you, or someone you know is interested in attending, sign up as soon as possible at http://bit.ly/Nov6event

NJII’s Healthcare Division is holding the event in collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDoH) as well as the state’s Department of Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS). 

Lynn Wilson, the Healthcare Division’s executive head of operations, will open the day’s discussion and welcome other experts from NJII, including Government Affairs and Finance Director Balavignesh Thirumalainambi. 

Renu Tadepalli, the manager of promoting interoperability program and Herminio (Bebet) Navia, Jr., program director at the DMAHS, will discuss updates to the Medicaid Promoting Interoperability Program, and serve on a panel discussion on the topic with Patrick Julian of The Mercadian Group – an accounting and advisory services company, and Nishaka Toppin from the IT services company DXC Technology. 

This will be followed by a review of developments in the Promoting Interoperability Program for New Jersey Substance Use Disorder (SUD) providers by Natassia Rozario, the NJDOJ’s director of opioid response and policy along with S. Arnold Zimmerman, Esq. (“Van”), Executive Director, New Jersey Innovation Institute and Herminio Navia Jr. 

The Medicaid Interoperability Lead of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Thomas Novak, will then lead discussion of Federal grant opportunities providers can access to help fight the opioid crisis. 

Finally, Nicole Omaggio, Operations Manager of New Jersey Health Information Network (NJHIN), will share the present and future landscape of the NJHIN and the value its use cases bring to providers and patients throughout New Jersey. She’ll delve into how the NJHIN provides a secure infrastructure for the exchange of patient data between all 71 acute care facilities in the state, and allows for the expeditious release of Admission, Discharge, and Transfer (ADT) notifications.

Opioids have devastated the people of New Jersey. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says the age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths in the Garden State reached 30 per 100,000 persons in 2017, up substantially from 23.2 deaths per 100,000 just one year earlier. Nationwide statistics are also grim. The National Center for Bioinformatics Information notes that drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with opioids being the most common drug. The Center for Disease Control put it even more starkly, blaming prescription and illicit opioids for 47,000 deaths in 2017 – almost 129 per day.

Governor Phil Murphy allocated $100 million from his 2019 budget to tackle New Jersey’s opioid crisis and awarded $6 million to the Healthcare Division last fiscal year. We are using that money to help SUD medical professionals obtain and use electronic health record technology (EHR). 

Properly employed, EHR technology can combat the epidemic through the efficient capture, analysis, reporting and sharing of important clinical and operational data. The Substance Use Disorder Promoting Interoperability Program aims to connect “siloed” systems of care, enabling SUD medical professionals to enhance patient care coordination, conduct quicker response efforts to patient crises, and increase the capacity for treatment.

To learn more about how we assist SUD professionals, and see if your practice qualifies for funding to upgrade its EHR system, go to NJII’s NJHIN SUD website.

Breakfast and registration starts at 8 a.m., and formal programming follows from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a break for complimentary lunch. 

The morning will begin with a ceremony to honor providers who have completed the 6 years of Medicaid Promoting Interoperability Program (formerly EHR incentive program). NJII’s Medicaid Provider Program team has assisted eligible providers in adopting and utilizing electronic health record technology, and how to leverage that technology to provide more effective care. “Their ongoing commitment to advancing health information technology has improved healthcare quality, lowered costs, and enhanced the patient experience,” noted Thirumalainambi. 

Anyone with questions about the Medicaid Conference should contact Renu Tadepalli at renu.tadepalli@njii.com.