The following is the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) weekly news roundup, highlighting nursing and health care stories from around the state.

N.J.’s county-run nursing homes face uncertain future as Medicaid funding dwindles (South Jersey Times)
County-run nursing homes used to be the norm in New Jersey, as local governments fulfilled residents’ needs for affordable care and comfort as they reached the end of life. The practice itself may be on borrowed time, however, as a recent report from the New Jersey Association of Counties paints a dim financial picture for county nursing homes in the years to come. Only eight counties in the state — Gloucester, Atlantic, Cape May, Bergen, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris and Passaic — still run their own elderly care facilities, fighting against the tide of a changing health care funding system.

Matheny nurse finds joy in painting (
As a nurse at the Matheny Medical and Education Center in Peapack-Gladstone, Pearl Chiang regularly deals with adults with a variety of developmental and physical disabilities. But every day, Chiang leaves behind any stress or anxiety. Chiang goes to the room in her Bridgewater home that she calls “her art world.” There she spends hours creating brightly colored paintings using pencils, watercolors and oils.

Nurses union reaches tentative agreement on pacts with CarePoint hospitals in Jersey City, Bayonne (The Jersey Journal)
Tentative agreements were reached for new contracts between health care workers represented by local Health Professionals and Allied Employees members and the owners of CarePoint hospitals in Bayonne and Jersey City, union officials said. The new agreements will be voted on by HPAE Local 5185, the union representing roughly 860 employees at Bayonne Medical Center, and HPAE Local 5186, the affiliated union representing nurses at Christ Hospital in Jersey City. Both hospitals are owned by CarePoint Health. “With this tentative agreement, we have improved patient safety by increasing nurse staffing levels,” said Nicole Mankowski, an RN and president of the HPAE local at Christ Hospital. “That was always our goal and our commitment to this community.”