Professors John Jacobi and Tara Ragone

New Jersey Funds Seton Hall Law Projects Focused on Addressing Health Care Equity and Transition Assistance for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities 


November 2, 2022


Professors John V. Jacobi and Tara Adams Ragone will spearhead work on two projects earmarked in the State of New Jersey’s 2022-23 budget.


The first project continues the Center for Health & Pharmaceutical Law’s work on telehealth and health equity. During the Covid-19 public health emergency (PHE), public and private insurers, federal and state regulatory agencies, and private health care providers retooled to permit and support the delivery of telehealth for modalities of care and in settings not previously permitted. One issue that has received some, but not enough, attention is the question of whether the shifts in professional licensure rules, professional norms of practice, and payment rules will have a positive or negative effect on efforts to reduce disparities in health delivery, and in particular in access to behavioral health services. In “Equity in Telehealth: Avoiding a Two-Tier Virtual Health System,” Professors Jacobi and Ragone will focus on this critical issue by engaging professional boards, regulatory agencies, professional associations, clinicians, advocates, and legal experts to identify the regulatory and policy steps necessary to ensure that telehealth expansion enhances health equity. This work builds on the two-day telehealth symposium that the Center hosted in June 2021.

The second project focuses on transition assistance for adolescents and young adults (“AYAs”) with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) who are transitioning from school-centered coordination of services to the less structured adult system. The availability and coordination of transition services for people with IDD, especially those with behavioral health needs, depend on the interplay of local, state, and federal regulatory measures and the effective integration of governmental, health sector, and social services resources. In New Jersey and elsewhere, the confusing process of transitioning often leaves AYAs with IDD vulnerable to discontinuities in service, which can be detrimental to their health care and social service needs. In “Easing the Path: Transitions to Adulthood for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities,” Professors Jacobi and Ragone will develop a New Jersey-specific analysis that examines the shortcomings in current transitional services for this population; the regulatory and sub-regulatory steps involved in the transition process; and potential intergovernmental collaborations that can be undertaken by state agencies, school districts, and community organizations to improve access to transitional services for adolescents and young adults with IDD and behavioral health issues.

 

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