August 25, 2020

Pediatric/School Based Therapist Special Interest Group

Calling all Pediatric & School Based Therapists Special Interest Group Forming Now We all have Questions and Answers. So let's come together to chat and share our experiences & expertise. Please fill out the survey to be an active participant and let us know your needs!!

NJOTA Statement: Justice and Systemic Racism

In light of recent events, the New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association would like to share that we support the equity and inclusion of all of our colleagues, families, friends, and neighbors. As a profession, occupational therapy has always fostered inclusion and the right of every client we serve to be able to engage in meaningful occupations. We stand against systemic racism and support occupational justice for all, a stance consistent with AOTA’s Statement on Justice and Systemic Racism.
The NJOTA Board acknowledges that we need to be more proactive in our approach to diversity and our efforts regarding the promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion, in the New Jersey occupational therapy community. We know that we need to take action. NJOTA currently has a vacant board position for a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Liaison, formerly the Multicultural Liaison that has historically been difficult to fill. We see the value in this essential position, leading a dedicated committee of individuals to represent the interests of all NJOTA members. This role would be integral in guiding the organization in future endeavors, focusing on diversity across the spectrum, equality in all actions, and inclusion in all instances. If you would like to champion these efforts, please contact us. In addition to filling this position, we need to do more to assure equity and inclusion and we want to hear from you, our members. How can we as the NJOTA Board, along with our occupational therapy practitioners, students, and faculty, make a change for the better? What are the next steps we need to take?
Please share your thoughts and ideas with NJOTA!

March 16th, 2020
Telehealth in New Jersey

In light of current situations, we have had a lot of inquiries on telehealth in NJ. Click this link for an official letter from our legislation chair which will provide you with answers to your questions and resources for you to use. 

January 1st, 2020

PDGM Takes Effect January 1, 2020: What Home Health Practitioners Need to Know

Click here to read an email sent out by AOTA addressing how Home Health Agencies will be reimbursed through the new payment model called the Patient-Driven Groupings Mode.


October 21, 2019
Enhancing Neuroplasticity in Traumatic Brain Injury Across the Lifespan

An interprofessional conference for Speech-Language Pathologists, Audiologists, Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists that will provide both discipline specific learning as well as interprofessional discussion. Click Here to learn more.

October 21, 2019
Horizon BCBSNJ and ASH Partnership Denied in NJ

Click here to read a letter from our President Felicia Chew in regards to the Horizon Update!

 AOTA Collaboration with NJOTA Results in insurance Advocacy Win

Learn more about NJOTA’s successful advocacy efforts for Horizon BCBS credentialing bachelor level OT's in this recent OT Practice article.  Click here to read article.

August 6, 2019

Proposed Changes to Medicare Part B That Can Affect OT 

Medicare's proposed rule for Part B services includes several proposals that would affect occupational therapy practitioners, including additional details about a proposed OTA/PTA modifier and updates to the MIPS quality program. Read about how AOTA plans to advocate for you and your clients.

July 26, 2019

Horizon BCBS of New Jersey Credentialing Policy Under Review

AOTA advocacy helped change a credentialing policy at Horizon BCBS of New Jersey that was denying bachelor's trained occupational therapists from being credentialed with the insurance company. Read more about this at the link!


July 21, 2019

Introduction of the Allied Health Workforce Act of 2019

On July 11th the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health met, and unanimously approved an amendment, which added the language from the Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act of 2019 to to HR 2781. Click here for more information from AOTA.

 December 7, 2017

As a special gift to you this holiday season, we present to you a Special Edition Newsletter available for everyone to enjoy. The newsletter features a recap of NJOTA's Annual Conference which was held on October 15th, 2017 at the National Conference Center in East Windsor, NJ. 

A job with 2% unemployment rate, Click here.

 June 19, 2015

The following letter was sent from AOTA Media Relations to a reporter for regarding a misleading statement regarding occupational therapy within the article:

Good Morning, Kathleen,

I hope this finds you well. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) identified a reference to occupational therapy in your story on today (June 16, 2015), “N.J. lax in screening home health workers, feds say” at:

While the article addresses an important topic, the following statement appears to be inaccurate:  “All of the claims were from home health aides who provide direct care to Medicaid patients. They provided skilled nursing, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and social services.”

Our reading of this section is that the author is stating that home health aides can provide skilled occupational therapy, among other health care services.  The problem is that under federal Medicare and Medicaid requirements, home health aides cannot provide occupational therapy services; only qualified occupational therapists meet the necessary criteria to provide occupational therapy services under the federal conditions of participation for home health agencies. At best, this statement is misleading and confusing for readers. We appreciate your attention to this matter and request a correction be made as soon as possible.

For more information about how occupational therapists help clients in the home, please visit the productive aging section of AOTA’s website at

Best regards
Katie Riley
Media Relations Manager, American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)

 May 3, 2015

Check out the inspiring feature article by Rutgers Today about Judy Gnirrep, a successful sales executive who gave up her career to enter the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program in an effort to make a real difference in the lives of others.  Click here to read the article and share it with others!


Rutgers - Center for State Health Policy
Monitoring ACA Implementation in New Jersey

Dear Colleagues,

 I am pleased to share with you two new publications from the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy (CSHP): "Awareness of the ACA and Early Enrollment in New Jersey, Results from Late 2013" and "The Patient-Provider Relationship among New Jersey Immigrant Adults". These Facts & Findings were supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and report on topics relevant to implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in New Jersey.


"Awareness of the ACA and Early Enrollment in New Jersey, Results from Late 2013" is the first report using data from the Urban Institute's Health Reform Monitoring Survey for New Jersey (HRMS-NJ). We compare New Jersey to the northeastern United States and the nation overall in terms of residents' awareness of and experience with the health insurance Marketplace, health insurance literacy, and expectations of health reform.

In addition, the latest data release from the HRMS-NJ documents a 38% decline in the number of uninsured adults in New Jersey in the early months of 2014. Now posted on the RWJF website, "Health Insurance Coverage and Marketplace Enrollment" presents the most recent analyses prepared by CSHP and Foundation staff engaged in ongoing evaluations of ACA implementation using the HRMS-NJ.

"The Patient-Provider Relationship among New Jersey Immigrant Adults" examines differences in aspects of the patient-provider relationship by the nativity/citizenship status of adults in the state. This Facts & Findings uses data from the Center's New Jersey Family Health Survey and focuses on indicators aligned with goals of the ACA's National Quality Strategy.

Other reports relevant to monitoring ACA implementation in New Jersey are also available on the Center's website at



Joel Signature    
Joel C. Cantor, Sc.D.
Distinguished Professor & Director


Senator Calls For Transition Action Plan 


40th Anniversary Annual Conference & Exhibition Call for Presentations

1973 - 2013

The Home Care Association of New Jersey is proud to announce its 2013 40th Anniversary Call for Presentations! We are opening our doors to those of you who would like to share your expertise in providing outstanding educational programs to professionals in the home care and hospice industry. This year’s theme is:

“Home Care & Hospice: Power of the Past and Force of the Future”

Due to the success of last year’s conference format, breakout sessions will once again be set up in tracks by license type - home health, hospice, health care service firms. This will allow attendees the opportunity to select programs that are specific to their focus area and relevant to their practice. 

We are looking for innovative, informative and trending programming that will meet a variety of clinical, business and managerial interests for our industry.

I look forward to providing new programs to our members in 2013! Submit the applications via email to:
[email protected] or Fax: (732) 877-1101. 

Please contact me with any questions. DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION IS FRIDAY FEBRUARY 1, 2013 

Volunteer Opportunities Available for Healthcare Providers

Healthcare professionals who want to help with New Jersey's response to Hurricane Sandy or other emergencies can register with the New Jersey Medical Reserve Corps. The NJMRC is a statewide county-based program that is comprised of healthcare professionals and community health volunteers.

The NJMRC program is designed to help identify and register individuals who are willing to serve within their local area. Volunteers will be deployed through county and local health agencies as part of the emergency management system in that region. Every county in the state has at least one MRC unit.

"In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Department has received many inquiries from people looking to volunteer in New Jersey's response and recovery efforts," said Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd. "We encourage any healthcare professionals interested in helping to join the Medical Reserve Corps. This program provides an incredibly valuable resource in supporting and caring for those impacted by the storm."

To apply online use this link:

ASHA Releases Alternative to Teacher Value Added Assessment Systems

ASHA has developed an accountability resource for members and administrators to use which measures the unique value and contributions that speech-language pathologists make to students, families, and the school community. The Performance Assessment of Contributions and Effectiveness of Speech-Language Pathologists (PACE) includes an extensive review of the research on value added assessment (VAA) for teachers, a performance review process, ways to advocate for the adoption of the PACE at the state and local levels, and the PACE Matrix Portfolio assessment.

Several federal initiatives including the most recent reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (also known as No Child Left Behind) and the Race to the Top initiative have emphasized the importance of placing highly qualified teachers in classrooms and ensuring that accountability systems are put in place to regularly evaluate teachers. The VAA is being used to measure the effectiveness of teachers and is expanding to other professionals as a means of associating teacher value with student outcomes.

After an extensive review of the research to date, ASHA determined that the research focuses almost exclusively on teachers and while the goals of the teacher and the speech-language pathologist (SLP) are related, the SLP typically addresses foundational skills that support learning rather than targeting specific subject areas. As a result, ASHA set out to develop a resource that members could use to advocate for an accountability system that would accurately reflect the SLP’s unique role in contributing to a child’s overall performance and success of the school community.

The PACE–which has undergone extensive peer review–is available as a PDF on ASHA’s website. In addition to the document, supplementary tools have been posted to the site. These include sample parent, teacher, and student checklists. More advocacy items are being developed that include PowerPoint presentations to help members explain and advocate for the PACE and Frequently Asked Questions. These resources will be posted when they become available.

For more information, please contact either Janet Deppe, ASHA’s director of state advocacy, at [email protected] or Deborah Dixon, ASHA’s director of school services, at [email protected].

Sandra Schefkind, MS, OTR/L
AOTA Pediatric Coordinator
American Occupational Therapy Association
4720 Montgomery Lane
Bethesda, MD 20814-5320
301-652-2682 ext 2000
301-652-1417 (fax) 


New Definition of Autism being considered for DSM-V may exclude many:
See article in NY Times. (01/20/2012)

CDC Releases Updated School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) is pleased to announce the release of the School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (Guidelines). This new resource updates and combines previous guidelines last published in the 1990s. Schools play a critical role in improving the dietary and physical activity behaviors of students and the critical health outcomes and diseases they influence, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Developed in collaboration with nutrition and physical activity experts across the nation, the Guidelines identify the most effective policies and practices schools can implement to help young people adopt and maintain healthy eating habits and a physically active lifestyle. CDC synthesized research and best practices related to promoting healthy eating and physical activity in schools, culminating in nine guidelines. These guidelines were informed by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, and the Healthy People 2020 objectives related to healthy eating and physical activity among children and adolescents (including associated school objectives).
Collectively, the nine guidelines serve as the foundation for developing, implementing, and evaluating school-based healthy eating and physical activity policies and practices for students. Individually, they emphasize and address:

  • Coordination in developing, implementing, and evaluating healthy eating and physical activity policies and practices.
  • School environments that support healthy eating and physical activity.
  • Healthy food choices at school.
  • Comprehensive physical activity programs with quality physical education.
  • Health education that provides students with the knowledge, attitudes, skills, and experiences they need for healthy eating and physical activity.
  • Health, mental health, and social services to address healthy eating, physical activity, and related chronic disease prevention.
  • Partnering with families and community members to develop and implement healthy eating and physical activity policies, practices, and programs.
  • Providing a school employee wellness program that includes healthy eating and physical activity services.
  • Employing qualified individuals, and providing professional development opportunities for staff working in school health-related positions.

Each of the guidelines is accompanied by a set of strategies that can help schools work toward achieving each guideline. Although the ultimate goal is to implement all nine guidelines, not every strategy will be appropriate for every school, and some schools, due to resource limitations, might need to implement the guidelines incrementally.

DCF and DHS Offer Mental Health Tips Following Hurricane Irene

Advice to help kids and their families work through events like hurricanes, 9/11, and returning to school following Hurricane Irene, officials with the New Jersey Departments of Children and Families (DCF) and Human Services (DHS) recognize that as people work to address basic needs like housing, food, and medical care, it is also important to pay attention to the mental health needs of everyone, including children. 

“Children are affected by events like Hurricane Irene in many ways. They can cause stress, anxiety, fear, and sadness. This can be further complicated for young people who may also be dealing with the stress of going back to school and for those older youth who have been personally affected by 9/11,” said DCF Commissioner Allison Blake. “The good news is that children are amazingly resilient and providing some simple supports, including an empathic ear, can help children cope and successfully navigate their way through stressful times.” 

“The personal feeling of loss or uncertainty that accompanies storms of this magnitude, can leave children and families with an emotional toll,” said DHS Commissioner Jennifer Velez. “Families in need of counseling or other mental health services, should call 1-877-294-HELP (4357) and for TTY 1-877-294-4356 and the Mental Health Association in New Jersey will connect families with counseling or other mental health services in their local area.”

“Caregivers should seek additional help if needed. If a child seems “stuck” and keeps focusing on the hurricane, can not seem to get past the anxiety or sadness, is having trouble sleeping, or is having any continued problems with their daily lives, seek professional help. Talk with your pediatrician or seek out a mental health professional directly. Obtaining professional help as soon as you recognize that your child is having trouble dealing with the effects of a disaster can aid in their recovery. To obtain services for a child through the New Jersey Division of Child Behavioral Health Services, please contact 1-877- 652-7624.

A Quick Reference Guide to Hurricane Recovery is available on the DHS website with phone contact and website resources that are relevant to storm-impacted children and families. The guide can be accessed through this link.

Practitioners working with individuals with Developmental Disabilities may wish to subscribe to the Department’s E-Newsletter. 

Here are the details:
You will find the next issue of DDD today is available on the web, click here.

Featured Articles:
New Medicaid Regulations and Forums;

Community News:
Arc Mercer Opens Healthcare Center
Christie Administration Announces New Special Needs Housing Initiative

News from our Developmental Centers:
Pet Therapy is a Hit at Woodbridge Developmental Center
New Lisbon’s Greenhouse Open for Business!
Send your request for subscription to:[email protected]

Visit the government health reform website, click here. (Please be patient, it is very busy so will take time before it uploads.)