For Immediate Release
January 29, 2020
Contact: Toni Granato, New Jersey Primary Care Association (NJPCA) Communications Coordinator, (609) 689-9930 ex. 19

Community Health Centers Receive Greenlight to Provide Group Therapy

As of December 2019, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are now able to provide mental health and substance use disorder group counseling. This allows FQHCs, also known as Community Health Centers, to provide behavioral health treatment to as many as eight patients at a time. Federal and state legislators actively supported the provision of these services, which are especially important for patients and their families during times of a mental health crisis.

“New Jersey FQHCs provide integrated, quality healthcare to over half a million patients. The expansion of group therapy will be a critical breakthrough for the patients we serve. Group therapy is especially important since opioid overdose deaths in New Jersey only decreased by 3 percent last year.” said Jillian Hudspeth, New Jersey Primary Care Association President and CEO.

Earlier this month, state officials announced that there were 3,021 suspected drug-related overdose deaths in 2019, compared to 3,118 in 2018.[1] Despite the small decrease in deaths, New Jersey has been experiencing an epidemic. According to the most recent data from the CDC, New Jersey surpassed the national rate of overdose deaths in 2017.[2]

“The mental health and substance abuse crisis has torn apart New Jersey families and caused pain in communities all over our state,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee that sets national health policy. “Individuals in need of behavioral health services now have a new path to receive proper treatment in a dignified and timely manner. I applaud the hard work and commitment of Community Health Centers throughout New Jersey and our country.”

“Mental health and substance use disorder treatment services must reach all who need them,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker. “Now that Federally Qualified Health Centers are able to offer group counseling services, a proven treatment option will be accessible to communities struggling through America’s mental health and substance abuse crises. I was proud to support efforts to expand these services in New Jersey’s world-class FQHCs, where more than 560,000 patients access high-quality, cost-effective care.”

Community Health Centers meet the ever-growing demand for behavioral health services throughout the state. In 2016, New Jersey FQHCs provided 16,284 patients with mental health services. Just two years later, that number increased to 25,755 patients. During the same period of time, the number of substance use disorder patients treated by a New Jersey Community Health Center almost doubled from 1,244 patients in 2016 to 2,167 patients in 2018.[3]

“This is good news for the state of New Jersey. Federally Qualified Health Centers provide comprehensive quality care to almost 570,000 New Jerseyans every year. With the addition of mental health and substance use disorder group therapy, health centers will be able to improve access to behavioral health services for thousands of families and help further the fight against the opioid crisis,” U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) and Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“Too often, those suffering from mental illness do not have access to treatment so they can seek help. As a result, severe mental health illnesses have gone undiagnosed, and people have been left stranded, not knowing where to turn for help,” said N.J. Senator Troy Singleton, who serves as N.J. Senate Community and Urban Affairs Chairman. “Thankfully, here in New Jersey, residents will have readily available access to mental health care. By providing mental health care at Federally Qualified Health Centers, our most vulnerable populations will be able to receive the treatment they need to have a better quality of life.”

About the New Jersey Primary Care Association

The New Jersey Primary Care Association (NJPCA) is an advocate for Community Health Centers as well as a provider of comprehensive education, training, and technical assistance to Health Centers in New Jersey. NJPCA represents 23 Federally Qualified Health Centers and their 133 satellite sites providing healthcare services to 561,975 people in New Jersey. For more information about NJPCA, please visit

Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), also known as Community Health Centers, are in every state across the nation. FQHCs are authorized under Section 330(A) of the Public Health Services Act to provide healthcare to the medically underserved. Many Community Health Centers and their sites are specially designated to serve the needs of special populations including homeless populations, public housing residents, migrant and seasonal farm workers, veterans and school-aged children. For more information about the HRSA Health Center Program, please visit


Sources Cited:

1 The State of New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety Office of the Attorney General. (2020, January 8). AG Grewal Joins Governor Murphy in Announcing 2019 Preliminary Opioid Statistics That Show NJ Holding the Line on Overdose Deaths [Press release]. Retrieved from:

2 Figure 1. Drug overdose deaths, rate per 100,000 persons, in the U.S. and New Jersey. Source: CDC WONDER. Reprinted from the National Institute on Drug Abuse Advancing Addiction Science, 2019, Retrieved from:

3 Bureau of Primary Health Care, Health Resources and Services Administration (DHHS). 2018 UDS Data. Retrieved from: and

Community Health Centers Receive Greenlight to Provide Group Therapy