Medical advocates say funding now will pay off later

PEMBERTON – Representatives from health advocacy groups told the Senate Budget Committee today that funding projects now will result in long-term savings and a return on the dollar for the state in the future.

Mental health advocates rallied behind the same idea during the first Senate Budget Committee hearing last week in Montclair.

The Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the ALS Association asked the budget committee for $500,000 to help fight ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

“In 2010, the General Assembly in Pennsylvania allocated $325,000 for ALS patient services and the ALS Association used those funds efficiently and carefully to keep ALS patients in their homes and out of expensive state-funded programs, yielding net benefits of over $7.4 million to the state of Pennsylvania,” said Barry Schultz of the ALS Association during his testimony.

Joseph Mintzer, the executive vice president and chief operating officer at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research, requested continued grant-in-aid funding of $1.037 million from the state.

The Coriell Institute is a biomedical research center based in Camden.

“For every dollar invested by the State of New Jersey in Coriell, the state will realize a return on that investment of nearly $10 from other non-state sources,” Mintzer said.

Dr. Alison Gammie testified in favor of funding the New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research.

The NJCCR saw $1 million of state funding cut in fiscal year 2011, and the money has not yet been restored.

“Although the NJCCR still receives revenues from the ‘conquer cancer’ license plate sales and state income tax cancer related check-offs, these funding sources do not make up for the loss of the $1 million state budget appropriation,” Gammie said.

Gammie said that the return on investment is anywhere from $10 for every $1 invested up to $100 for every $1 of budget money.