[Second Reprint]

ASSEMBLY, No. 2973

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

213th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 12, 2008

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman PAMELA R. LAMPITT

District 6 (Camden)

Assemblyman LOUIS D. GREENWALD

District 6 (Camden)

Assemblywoman SHEILA Y. OLIVER

District 34 (Essex and Passaic)

Assemblywoman SANDRA LOVE

District 4 (Camden and Gloucester)

Assemblywoman NILSA CRUZ-PEREZ

District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)

Assemblywoman ELEASE EVANS

District 35 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblywoman  NELLIE POU

District 35 (Bergen and Passaic)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywomen Angelini and Vainieri Huttle

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires DHS to establish training, educational assessment, and remedial instruction programs, and minimum educational standards for staff at State psychiatric hospitals.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As amended by the General Assembly on June 23, 2008.

  


An Act concerning training for staff working at State psychiatric hospitals and supplementing chapter 4 of Title 30 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    a.  The Department of Human Services shall establish a training program for staff members at a State psychiatric hospital who work directly with patients to ensure the delivery of safe, secure, and therapeutic care at the hospital.

     The Commissioner of Human Services shall review the training program annually and modify it if needed, and shall be responsible for ensuring that all staff members who work directly with patients receive this training.

     b.    The training program shall:

     (1)   include a curriculum based on evidence-based treatment practices that emphasize the principles of wellness and recovery;

     (2)   utilize a curriculum that provides exposure to the best practices in patient care through didactic and experiential learning, including, but not limited to, such topics as State and federal reporting requirements; the provision of services to patients that promote safety, disease prevention, and health wellness activities; anger management; and instruction on skilled decision-making and how to deal effectively with life-threatening emergencies;

     (3)   require that all applicable staff members employed at a State psychiatric hospital on the effective date of this act successfully complete the training within one month of the effective date of this act; and

     (4)   require that an applicable staff member hired at a State psychiatric hospital after the effective date of this act successfully complete the training within six months after the start of employment.

     c.     The commissioner shall ensure that staff members at a State psychiatric hospital receive annual refresher training that includes any updated information relating to the training they are required to undergo under the program.

     d.    A current staff member or an applicant for employment at a State psychiatric hospital who refuses to participate in the training program shall be terminated or permanently disqualified from employment at the hospital.  

     e.     As used in this act, "State psychiatric hospital" means a psychiatric hospital listed in R.S.30:1-7.


     2.    a.  The Commissioner of Human Services shall establish minimum educational standards for staff members at a State psychiatric hospital who work or will work directly with patients after the effective date of this act.  The standards shall include, but not be limited to:

     (1)   a high school diploma or certificate of high school equivalency; and

     (2)   proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking English.

     b.    Applicants for employment at a State psychiatric hospital who will work directly with patients shall meet the standards established pursuant to subsection a. of this section as a prerequisite to being hired at the hospital.

     c.     (1) A staff member at a State psychiatric hospital who works directly with patients on the effective date of this act shall undergo an educational assessment pursuant to section 3 of this act, in order to determine if the staff member meets the standards established pursuant to subsection a. of this section.

     (2)   If it is determined that the staff member does not meet the standards established pursuant to subsection a. of this section, remedial instruction shall be provided to the staff member through the educational assessment and remedial instruction program established by the Department of Human Services pursuant to section 3 of this act.

     (3)   A staff member shall be required to meet the standards established pursuant to subsection a. of this section or successfully complete the remedial instruction pursuant to section 3 of this act, as applicable, within one year of the effective date of this act, as  a condition of continued employment at a State psychiatric hospital.

     (4)   A staff member who refuses to undergo the educational assessment or fails to successfully complete the remedial instruction required pursuant to section 3 of this act shall be terminated from employment at the hospital.

 

     3.    a.  The Department of Human Services, in collaboration with 1[the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development] 2[State public institutions of higher education1] the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development2, shall establish an on-site educational assessment and remedial instruction program at each State psychiatric hospital.

     The purpose of the program is to evaluate the proficiency of all staff members at a State psychiatric hospital who work directly with patients, and provide remedial instruction, if necessary, in order to ensure that staff members at the hospital meet the standards established pursuant to subsection a. of section 2 of this act.

     b.    The  program shall include:

     (1)   an assessment designed to measure the proficiency of  an applicable staff member at a State psychiatric hospital in reading comprehension, writing skills, and spoken English to determine whether the staff member meets the standards established pursuant to subsection a. of section 2 of this act; and

     (2)   a curriculum for remedial instruction that provides instruction in reading comprehension, writing skills, and spoken English that will enable a staff member at a State psychiatric hospital to demonstrate that the staff member meets the standards established pursuant to subsection a. of section 2 of this act.

     c.     If the assessment of an applicable staff member at a State psychiatric hospital reveals that the staff member does not meet the standards established pursuant to subsection a. of section 2 of this act,  remedial instruction shall be provided to the staff member in order for the staff member to meet the educational standards necessary for continued employment at the hospital.

 

     4.    The Commissioner of Human Services shall conduct a study, in consultation with 1[the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development] 2[State public institutions of higher education1] the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development2, to determine how to best enhance the professionalism of staff members at a State psychiatric hospital who work directly with patients, which shall include, but need not be limited to, an evaluation of the feasibility and benefits of:

     a.     establishing opportunities for occupationally relevant learning and long-range career advancement for applicable staff members by developing a supervisory/management training program modeled on the Department of Human Services Career Ladders program; and

     b.    requiring professional licensure, certification or other professional accreditation for applicable staff members, supervisors, and management staff.

 

     5.    The Commissioner of Human Services shall report to the Governor, and to the Legislature pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), no later than one year after the effective date of this act, on the implementation and status of the training, educational assessment, and remedial instruction programs, and establishment of minimum educational standards for staff members at a State psychiatric hospital.  The commissioner shall also include in the report, the results of the study conducted pursuant section 4 of this act.

 

     6.    The Commissioner of Human Services shall adopt rules and regulations pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) to effectuate the purposes of this act.


     7.    This act shall take effect 90 days after the date of enactment, but the Commissioner of Human Services may take such anticipatory administrative action in advance thereof as shall be necessary for the implementation of this act.