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NJ Department of Health Announces $500,000 Grant to Cooper Health and Penn Medicine Princeton Health to Integrate Health Care for Military, Veterans, First Responders

The New Jersey Department of Health today announced $500,000 in grant funds to Cooper Health System and Penn Medicine Princeton Health to support the integration of primary care, behavioral health, palliative care, hospice and telehealth services for military members, veterans and first responders, who often face primary care and behavioral health challenges.

“Patients with physical, mental and substance use conditions are often one in the same and require an integrated approach to their care for two or more of these categories. This is especially true for members of the armed forces, veterans and first-responders, who often carry internal wounds in addition to their physical conditions,” Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said. “This investment will ensure that care and services for these vulnerable populations are accessible and coordinated in a comprehensive and efficient way.”

The goal of this grant is to further develop integrated care networks in New Jersey that can serve the ongoing primary and behavioral health care of military, veterans and first responders.

“This grant from the Department of Health will allow Cooper to continue to serve those who have served our great nation with primary, specialty and behavioral health services,” said Louis Bezich, Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances at Cooper University Health Care. “In partnership with Deborah Heart and Lung Center, this grant will allow us to expand our HeroCare Connect program to better serve the needs of active duty military, veterans and first responders.”

“Princeton House has been a leader in recognizing the importance of addressing trauma with our patients,” said Richard Wohl, President of Princeton House and Senior Vice President of Penn Medicine Princeton Health. “We are honored to be able to work hand-in-hand with the first responder community, and we are delighted that the state has recognized our efforts with this special population. Our First Responder Treatment Services offer veterans, active duty military, law enforcement, fire fighters and emergency medical personnel treatment for psychiatric and substance use disorder issues, as well as family support. This grant will allow us to extend services to include follow-up contact after treatment at Princeton House is concluded.”

Grantees will use the funding to implement a new pilot program or support an existing one.

The grant awards are:

· $250,000 to Cooper Health Systems (Southern Region)

· $250,000 to Penn Medicine Princeton Health (Northern Region)

“Our first responders, our military and our veterans have stepped up to serve our country and our communities – often in traumatic environments,” Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said. “Overseeing the state’s law enforcement personnel as Attorney General allows me to see first-hand the various needs of these men and women. Through this grant and by working together across departments, we can ensure that they receive access to the full continuum of medical and behavioral health services they deserve.”

“With nearly one-third of the New Jersey Army National Guard currently deployed, having additional health care programs in place is a benefit for these futures veterans, who will join the community of nearly 340,000 veterans statewide,” said Brig. Gen. Jemal J. Beale, The Adjutant General and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

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