Every year, New Jersey proposes dozens of statutes that impact health care. The below statutes have already passed both the State Senate and Assembly and are on their way to become law unless vetoed by the Governor, with the exception of one statute that has already been approved and is now law.
Hospital Wrap-Around Services
Pursuant to S1676, hospitals are allowed to construct housing and provide wrap-around services for individuals who are homeless or housing insecure. Wrap-around services may include referrals to outpatient primary care and behavioral health services, as well as assistance with procuring sources of health benefits coverage. Additionally, these housing and wrap-around services are exempt from the certificate of need requirement.
Consideration of Criminal History Records
S942 sets the standards for professional and occupational boards considering applicants with criminal history records. Under this bill, an entity shall not disqualify a person from obtaining or holding any certificate solely because the person has been convicted of or engaged in acts constituting any crime or offense. Rather, only crimes or offenses that have a “direct or substantial relationship to the activity regulated by the entity or is of a nature such that certification, registration or licensure of the person would be inconsistent with the public’s health, safety, or welfare” are disqualifying. The bill sets forth factors to be considered in making that determination, including the nature and seriousness of the crime, and whether there is any evidence of rehabilitation of the person.
Implicit Bias Training
S703 requires health care professionals providing perinatal care to pregnant persons undergo explicit and implicit bias training. Under the bill, such training is required for physicians, physician assistants, professional and practical nurses, midwives, staff members who interact with pregnant persons, and members of the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners and New Jersey Board of Nursing. Hospitals and birthing centers that do not implement an explicit and implicit bias training program are subject to penalties.
County Option Hospital Fee Pilot Program
S3252 clarifies that the County Option Hospital Fee Pilot Program in the Department of Human Services shall expire five years after each participating county has collected a local health care‑related fee, as authorized under N.J.S.A. 30:4D-7t(3)(c). This bill passed both houses and has been approved.
Screening for Depressive Disorders
A3548 requires insurance coverage for expenses incurred in screening adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 for major depressive disorder, so long as screening for major depressive disorder in adolescents continues to receive a rating of “A” or “B” from the United States Preventative Services Task Force. The bill applies to hospital, medical, and health service corporations, commercial individual, small employer, and larger group insurers, health maintenance organizations, and the State Health Benefits Program and the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program. The bill provides that the benefits are to be provided to the same extent as for any other condition under the contract or policy, except that the insurer may not impose on covered persons receiving these services any form of cost sharing, including, but not limited to, copayments, deductibles, or coinsurance.
Temporary Licenses in Mental Health
Pursuant to A4246, a professional licensing board regulating a mental health profession may expedite the issuance of a temporary license or certificate of registration to practice a mental health profession to a recent graduate in New Jersey or another state who earned a master’s degree or higher from a program that is intended to lead to a career in mental health. The individual with the temporary credential is to be supervised by someone licensed in New Jersey in the same profession that the individual is temporarily practicing. Once the Governor lifts the state of emergency or when the temporary license or certificate expires, whichever is sooner, and if the individual intends to remain in New Jersey and practice the mental health profession, the individual is to apply for a full license or certificate to the requisite professional board.
Optometrists and Vaccines
This bill, A5222, provides that the New Jersey State Board of Optometrists may certify an optometrist to administer immunizations for COVID-19 and influenza when a public health emergency has been declared. At a minimum, immunization administration training based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a prerequisite for certification to administer an immunization pursuant to the bill’s provisions.