New Nursing Home Legislation Regarding Statewide Assessment

S3032, which passed both the Senate and Assembly, requires the Department of Health ("DOH") to conduct a statewide nursing home infection control and prevention infrastructure assessment and, based on that assessment, develop a statewide nursing home infection control and prevention infrastructure improvement plan. The statute expressly requires the DOH to request recommendations from the New Jersey Task Force on Long-Term Care Quality and Safety established pursuant to P.L.2020, c.88. The assessment is to be completed within one year after the effective date of the statute, which will become law after executed by the Governor. No later than 180 days after the assessment is completed, the DOH will be required to develop the statewide nursing home infection control and prevention infrastructure improvement plan.

New Jersey Enters Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact

A4205 enters New Jersey into the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact, which was established by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards in 2015. The compact allows a psychologist licensed in a member state who meets certain criteria to provide telepsychology services and limited in-person, face-to-face psychological services in other member states, without the need for individual licensure in those other states. Psychologists providing services in a member state are subject to that state's scope of practice requirements and may be subject to professional disciplinary action in the member state. This statute passed both the Senate and Assembly and awaits the Governor's approval. 

New Jersey Establishes COVID-19 Pandemic Task Force on Racial and Health Disparities

A4004, which was just signed into law by the Governor, establishes a COVID-19 Pandemic Task Force on Racial and Health Disparities (the "Task Force") in the DOH. The purpose of the Task Force is, among other things, to study the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected New Jersey's minority and vulnerable communities and to develop effective strategies to address and eliminate the racial, ethnic, and health disparities that exist with respect to access to high-quality health care and utilization of health care services by members of minority and vulnerable communities. The Task Force shall submit a report to the Governor no later than one year after the public health emergency is lifted, which, as we mentioned in our last Update, happened on June 4, 2021 and will be effective July 4, 2021.

New Legislation for Nurses, Certified Nurse Aides, and Temporary Nurse Aides

The New Jersey General Assembly and Senate also recently passed two statutes, A5059 and A5353, relating to nurses, certified nurse aides, and temporary nurse aides. These statutes will become law upon execution by the Governor.  

A5059 requires the DOH to establish certain nursing education and professional advancement programs. Under the statute, the Board of Nursing must review the current nursing curriculum and education and clinical experience requirements and modify them, as appropriate, to incorporate the Nursing Home Infection Preventionist Training Course. The DOH shall do the same with respect to certified nursing aides.

A5353 allows for certification of temporary nurse aides who, during the COVID-19 public health emergency: (1) successfully completed a training program and competency assessment authorized under a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ("CMS") waiver; (2) worked a minimum of 80 hours under the supervision of a licensed professional nurse; (3) successfully completed a criminal history record background check; and (4) successfully completed a State-approved nurse aide written examination in no more than three attempts. Once signed into law, the statute will be effective immediately and shall expire 90 days after the end of the public health emergency.

DHS to Develop Emergency Response Plan Related to Individuals With Developmental Disabilities

A4138 requires the Department of Human Services ("DHS") to develop and oversee the implementation of a public emergency response plan for persons and entities that are licensed to provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities. DHS will be required to develop the plan within 60 days after the date of the statute's enactment and post the initial response plan and any revised response plan on the DHS Internet website. This statute passed both the Senate and Assembly and awaits the Governor's approval.

Legislation on the SNAP Program

A2281, passed by both the Senate and Assembly, requires the Commissioner of Human Services to review and streamline the application process for senior citizens who wish to participate in the New Jersey Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ("SNAP"), to the maximum extent permissible under federal law. The goal of the streamlining process would be to ensure that the number of senior SNAP participants either matches or exceeds New Jersey's overall SNAP participation rates. In streamlining the SNAP application process for seniors, the Commissioner is required to, among other things, develop and make available a simplified SNAP application and authorize and establish appropriate procedures to facilitate the cross enrollment of eligible seniors in the State Medicaid program and SNAP. 

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