Part 3 of our New Jersey Regulatory Update continues to review regulatory changes published earlier this year through the New Jersey Register (N.J.R.). The following regulatory rule changes reflect rule relaxations and waivers related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, each relaxation will expire when the COVID-19 New Jersey State of Emergency declared under Executive Order No. 103 (2020) is terminated.
NJDOH Permits Residential SUD Facilities to Provide Counseling via Telemedicine
54 N.J.R. 301(a): The New Jersey Department of Health (“NJDOH”) has relaxed rules relating to the standards for licensure of residential substance use disorder (“SUD”) treatment facilities. The rule relaxation temporarily allows for substance abuse counseling services to be provided through telehealth/telemedicine modalities. The updates are reflected under N.J.A.C. § 10:161A-1.3, which defines telehealth and telemedicine per N.J.S.A. § 45:1-61 et seq., and N.J.A.C. § 161A-10.1, which provides for substance abuse counseling and supportive services. Interestingly, in December 2021, the NJDOH passed a regulation moving these regulations to N.J.A.C. 8:121 et seq. However, 54 N.J.R. 301(a) amended the old regulations, N.J.A.C. 10:161A-1.3, but not N.J.C.A. 8:12 1 et seq.
NJDOH Revises Rules for Outpatient SUD Treatment and OPT Programs
54 N.J.R. 301(b): The NJDOH relaxed multiple rules relating to the standards for licensure of outpatient SUD treatment facilities. The rule relaxation temporarily allows for substance abuse counseling services, buprenorphine physical examination, and comprehensive biopsychosocial assessments to be provided through telehealth/telemedicine modalities. Additionally, certain random or monthly drug screenings for clinic-based medical maintenance may instead be performed at least eight (8) times per year.
Opioid treatment providers ("OTPS") may follow newly released NJDOH Take-Home Dosing and Delivery Guidelines. Additionally, OTPS must include take-home dosing and service procedures being used in response to COVID-19 in their emergency plan or Continuity of Operations Plan ("COOP") and submit their COOPs to the IME COOP Activation email address at email@example.com with a copy to the State Opioid Treatment Authority, Mr. Adam Bucon, through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The definitions of telehealth and telemedicine have been adopted per N.J.S.A. § 45:1-61 et seq. The regulations affected by this rule relaxation are N.J.A.C. § 10:161B-1.3, 6.3, 9.1, 10.1, 11.6, 11.9, 11.12, 11.13, 12.4, and 15.1.
NJDOH Expands Telehealth for Multiple Mental Health Service Providers
54 N.J.R. 305(a): The NJDOH has relaxed rules for the provision of community mental health services under the Community Mental Health Services Act. The update reflects an adoption of the terms “face to face,” “telehealth,” and “telemedicine,” as defined under N.J.S.A. § 45:1-61 et seq., to the direct service program elements codified at N.J.A.C. § 10:37-5.1.
54 N.J.R. 307(a): This regulation pertains to community support services for adults with serious mental illnesses. (N.J.A.C. § 10:37B-1.2) They were updated to define the terms “face to face,” “telehealth,” and “telemedicine,” as provided under N.J.S.A. § 45:1-61 et seq. Additionally, the update reflects a technical change in the staff credentials and responsibilities regulation (N.J.A.C. § 10:37B-5.2) to reflect the reorganization of the crisis intervention training requirements now codified at N.J.A.C. 10:37B-4.4(b)(24).
54 N.J.R. 308(a): Similarly, the NJDOH has adopted the terms “face to face,” “telehealth,” and “telemedicine,” as defined under N.J.S.A. § 45:1-61 et seq. under the regulatory definitions for mental health partial care service providers (N.J.A.C. § 10:37F-1.3). Further, the definition of “signature” and “signed” were updated to include electronic marks, further supporting telehealth/telemedicine options.
54 N.J.R. 309(a): Regulations affecting Programs of Assertive Community Treatment ("PACT") providers were also relaxed to increase telehealth/telemedicine options. PACT services provide comprehensive, integrated rehabilitation, treatment and support services to individuals with serious and persistent mental illness, who have had repeated psychiatric hospitalizations, and who are at serious risk for psychiatric hospitalization. The amended regulations replace in-person meeting requirements with “face to face” and “interacting” language, permitting providers to utilize telehealth/telemedicine modalities to render services (N.J.A.C. § 10:37J-2.5). The regulatory definitions (N.J.A.C. § 10:37J-1.2) have further been amended to reflect the terms “face to face,” “telehealth,” and “telemedicine,” as provided under N.J.S.A. § 45:1-61 et seq.