Thursday, July 31, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Thursday, July 17, 2014, 5:11 AM

The time has come to decide whether New Jersey is training enough doctors -- particularly primary-care doctors -- and to determine if they are distributed adequately across the state, according to a bill advancing in the Legislature.

The measure, S-90/A-1930, would require state officials to convene a “strategic planning summit” to analyze the state’s supply of doctors; discuss redistributing or expanding the number of medical residencies; and investigate ways to have family, internal, and pediatric medicine residents in more community hospitals.

The bill stems from a 2010 report by the New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals that foresaw a 2,800-doctor shortfall by 2020, including 1,800 fewer primary-care doctors than would be needed.

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POSTED: Thursday, July 17, 2014, 5:05 AM

"Put sunscreen on" is the mantra in many homes during the summer -- and for good reason. The American Cancer Society estimates that 76,100 cases of melanoma, the most serious form of skin caner, will be diagnosed nationwide in 2014. New Jersey alone is expected to see 2,590 cases this year.

Early diagnosis is key to surviving the disease. The state Department of Health is promoting an initiative at parks and beaches this summer to remind residents to take precautions. Called “Choose Your Cover,” it will provide free cancer screenings at six Jersey Shore beaches this Saturday, as well as information and complimentary sunscreen.

The six cancer-screening events will be held between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Belmar Beach, Bradley Beach, Sea Bright Municipal Beach, Brick Beach III, Island Beach State Park, and Ship Bottom. There will be other events through the middle of August, including stops at Perth Amboy, Sea Isle City, Long Branch, Ventnor, Phillipsburg, Brigatine, Belvidere, Whippany, and the Middlesex Municipal Pool.

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POSTED: Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 5:15 AM

When New Jersey changes how it manages behavioral healthcare services for Medicaid recipients, it may want to turn to Tennessee for lessons

That’s the case being pitched by New Jersey healthcare advocates, who note that the conventional separation of behavioral healthcare and medical care can lead to inefficiency and poor health, since patients often require both types of care.

For example, Tennessee found that the insurers that separately paid for behavioral health and medical care would argue with hospitals over whether a patient’s condition was primarily behavioral or medical. For patients with chronic conditions -- such as depression and diabetes -- this made little sense, since each condition can feed the other.

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POSTED: Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 5:14 AM

New Jersey court dockets over the latest proposed affordable-housing rules just got fatter, since an advocacy group is seeking to force the Christie administration to explain why the regulations approved by the Council on Affordable Housing were changed prior to their publication.

The new lawsuit by Fair Share Housing Center alleging that COAH and several state departments violated the state's Open Public Records Act was filed as the state and Rutgers University filed court papers defending another OPRA violation. In their briefs, the state and Rutgers say they did not turn over documents regarding the recent recalculation of municipal housing obligations sought by Fair Share Housing Center because they could not find the files.

"The more the Christie Administration refuses to explain how it came up with the new fair-housing rules it proposed, the more suspect the rules look," said Adam Gordon, a Fair Share attorney. "How could the only copies of this critical information have been destroyed? How can any community leader, mayor, or homebuilder have trust in a process in which the Christie Administration and its contractors now admit that they have lost or destroyed the information used to calculate each municipality's fair share?"

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POSTED: Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 5:13 AM

Not many disagree with the state's efforts to promote energy efficiency and renewable sources of power, but how to do so remains in dispute.

To some, the state should encourage utilities to invest in those initiatives through ‘’decoupling,’’ a process that breaks the link between the amount of energy sold to customers and a utility’s profits.

The rationale behind decoupling is that it gives utilities a bigger incentive to invest in alternative-energy programs -- provided it does not hurt the bottom line -- by allowing them to recover lost revenue if they can demonstrate they're saving their customers money.

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POSTED: Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 5:12 AM
FILE - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's "Road to Majority" Policy Conference in Washington, June 20, 2014. (REUTERS/Larry Downing, File)

It can be hard to figure out the relationship between Gov. Chris Christie and the state’s biggest teachers union, the New Jersey Education Association.

In the beginning of his first term, he vilified the union -- and vice versa -- over budget cuts and pension changes. Then the two worked together developing the state’s tenure reform law, even meeting together for the signing.

Now, he faces the NJEA’s wrath again, over his failure to meet promised pension obligations -- earning him a lawsuit from the union.

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POSTED: Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 5:11 AM

Name: Paul Winkler

Title: Executive director of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education

Age: 77

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POSTED: Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 5:10 AM

The numbers just didn’t add up.

Millions of dollars had been allocated to towns affected by Hurricane Sandy through an energy grant program – but municipalities left relatively unscathed by the superstorm received funding while other towns that sustained substantial flooding damage, including Atlantic City and Belmar, received nothing.

In Hoboken, which had major storm damage, Mayor Dawn Zimmer asserted that her city had been shortchanged by the Christie administration, setting off a political furor.

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