O’Dowd: FY14 budget will care for most vulnerable

TRENTON – The Health commissioner told Senate Budget Committee members today that her department’s fiscal year 2014 appropriation of $1.9 billion will reflect the administration’s priorities of caring for the most vulnerable residents.

Of that $1.9 billion, $675 million will go toward Charity Care, which goes toward health care for poor patients, Commissioner Mary O’Dowd said.

Some $1.6 million more will go toward newborn screenings, following the establishment of Emma’s Law. Altogether, some $25 million has been earmarked for that program.

The controversial medical marijuana program is expected to see a boost, from $749,000 to $1.6 million. However, much of that increase will go toward salaries and wages for six new employees the department plans to hire to run the program.

In her opening remarks, O’Dowd said the budget reflects the department’s priorities “to strengthen the health care safety net, protect our most vulnerable, build healthier communities and work smarter.”   

Reimbursements have also increased for EMT training for volunteers in emergency units.

  O’Dowd: FY14 budget will care for most vulnerable