Bridgeton, NJ (May 24, 2023) – The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners has approved an ordinance that will increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for hospitals in the county through a federal program. Known as the New Jersey County Option Hospital Fee, it is designed to help ensure continued access to vitally important health care services for underserved and vulnerable patients who are covered by Medicaid or have no insurance.
With final approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid expected this summer, the hospitals expect to see increased Medicaid reimbursement to begin by October of this year.
The program is funded by the federal government and does not use any county or local tax dollars. County Option will also support programs that meet the unique needs of county residents who are covered by Medicaid or are uninsured. For example, it will support Inspira Health’s plan to expand its Community Health Worker Program in Millville. Community health workers are specially trained to help identify the social determinants impacting a patient’s health and well-being, and connecting them with existing community resources. This can include assistance with housing and food insecurity, transportation, medical appointments, life-coaching, and skill building.
Cumberland County is among the poorest in New Jersey and has ranked poorly in health outcomes for many years. The New Jersey County Option Hospital Fee Program specifically targets areas with high Medicaid and uninsured populations. The program has been implemented in seven counties since its inception in 2018 and was expanded to four additional counties last year.
“Supporting County Option is clearly in the best interest of our most vulnerable residents and provides needed support to our hospitals,” said Commissioner Director Doug Albrecht. “We know that this is just one of the many important steps in improving health outcomes in our community, and we look forward to further collaboration with our hospital partners to best serve all.”
“On behalf of Inspira Health, I want to thank the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners and our elected officials from New Jersey’s 1st and 3rd legislative districts for their support of the New Jersey County Option Hospital Fee program within our community,” said Amy Mansue, President and CEO of Inspira Health. “Inspira cares for some of the most vulnerable populations — both in terms of health outcomes and economic stability. The additional funding provided through the County Option program will enable us to expand our efforts to reduce health disparities and strengthen our focus on providing high-quality care for all our Cumberland County neighbors.”