“We must and will continue to take a comprehensive approach to making reproductive health care safe and accessible to all who need it in our state,” said Governor Murphy. “This is a matter of defending a fundamental right that remains under attack throughout our country. New Jersey will continue to serve as a safe haven for both providers and patients as we take additional steps to ensure protected, equitable access to this critical care.”
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision overturning Roe v. Wade and other states implementing restrictions on and even criminalizing reproductive health care, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH), in partnership with the New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority (HCFFA), is offering zero-percent interest, forgivable loans to family planning providers seeking to make facility upgrades to deliver care to more patients.
“This program is an important step in the Murphy Administration’s ongoing commitment to helping ensure access to reproductive health care services throughout New Jersey,” said Health Commissioner Judith M. Persichilli. “These loans will support the improvement of facilities with equipment upgrades, increased staffing, and expanded IT services to enhance reproductive health care.”
A total of $6,076,438 was approved by the Authority’s board for 15 applicants in the first round of this loan program. HCFFA has begun executing loan agreements with recipients. Recipients include:
- Planned Parenthood of Northern Central and Southern New Jersey (PPNCSNJ), including awards to eight facilities in Absecon, Englewood, Morristown, Newton, Perth Amboy, Shrewsbury, Trenton, and Washington;
- Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey, including awards to five facilities in East Orange, Montclair, Paterson, and two health centers in Newark;
- Zufall Health Center in West Orange;
- Alliance Community Healthcare in Jersey City;
- FamCare, including awards to four facilities in Bridgeton, Glassboro, Pennsville, and Vineland;
- Family Planning Center of Ocean County in Toms River;
- Hoboken Family Planning in Hoboken; and
- Rutgers University – Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine in Newark.
“The New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority is proud to be working with the Department of Health to distribute the $10 million State appropriation in the form of forgivable loans to deserving family planning facilities and reproductive health care providers in the State,” said New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority Executive Director Mark E. Hopkins. “These facilities provide much needed services and have already reported a substantial increase in demand over the last six months.”
The second round of DOH and HCFFA’s loan program will remain open to applicants until 4 p.m. on January 6, 2023, with approximately $3.8 million available for awards. Interested facilities can submit their application to HCFFA via email at [email protected]. The maximum award for applicants will be $750,000. To be eligible, facilities must be in good standing and provide a full spectrum of reproductive health services, including but not limited to:
- Family planning counseling and education;
- Birth control/contraception methods;
- Pregnancy testing and counseling;
- Abortion services;
- Pelvic exams;
- Cervical, breast, testicular, and prostate cancer screenings;
- Basic infertility services;
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) testing, prevention, education, and treatment;
- Screening for HIV and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) assessments; and/or
- Referrals to other reproductive health and related social services.
The program will run through June 30, 2023, and facilities will have 180 days after the close of the program period to submit final expenditure reports and perform any necessary and related close-out activities.
In addition, to help prevent potential attacks on abortion providers and patients, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) has opened the application period for the State’s new $5 million Reproductive Health Security Grant Program, which will award up to $100,000 in funding to eligible New Jersey-licensed reproductive healthcare facilities that can demonstrate a high security risk.
This initiative, which requires applicants to complete a site vulnerability assessment or utilize a facility self-assessment tool prior to submission, is primarily geared toward those reproductive health care facilities that may be targeted by violence, property damage, vandalism, harassment, or similar illegal activities.
“This grant program will help to safeguard patients and their medical providers. Our Grants Management Bureau will assess threats, vulnerabilities and consequences to determine which providers demonstrate the greatest and lowest risk for an attack,” said NJOHSP Director Laurie Doran. “In addition to acquiring the necessary security-hardening grant funding, this process also presents health care providers with the opportunity to forge relationships with the men and women who strive to serve and protect them. Past experience has taught us that cultivating these relationships prior to a potential incident is critical to law enforcement response.”
Like the facility grants, eligible applicants include facilities in good standing that provide a full spectrum of reproductive health care services.
Largely modeled after the State’s existing nonprofit security grant program, the 2023 Reproductive Health Security Grant Program’s available funding may be used for:
- Hiring security personnel;
- Purchase and installation of target-hardening equipment;
- Security and emergency preparedness training;
- Emergency planning activities; and
- Procurement of cybersecurity assets.
Applications for the Office of Homeland Security’s Reproductive Health Security Grant Program will be accepted through February 28. Interested health care providers can view program details or submit an application electronically at NJOHSP.gov. Recipients will have a 24-month period to expend funding.
This funding builds upon other recent efforts to protect and ensure access to reproductive health care in New Jersey. In December 2022:
- The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance began the formal rulemaking process to require coverage for abortion services without exceptions under the health benefits plans it regulates following the conclusion of the study the Department conducted in 2022, as mandated by the historic Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act Governor Murphy signed. Coverage started for the 2023 plan year on January 1 following votes last week by the boards of both the Individual Health Coverage Program and the Small Employer Health Benefits Program.
- The Office of the Attorney General’s Division of Consumer Affairs announced funding for Rutgers University to create and implement the “New Jersey Reproductive Training and Education Initiative.” The funding will be used from January 1, 2023 through December 31, 2025 to work to expand the pool of abortion care providers in New Jersey.
The Attorney General’s Reproductive Rights Strike Force issued guidance to State licensing boards, to health care providers and other licensees, and to consumers on patient and provider rights.