An Act concerning medically fragile students and amending P.L.1999, c.153.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 1 of P.L.1999, c.153 (C.18A:40-3.2) is amended to read as follows:
C.18A:40-3.2 Findings, declarations relative to school nursing, clinical nursing services.
1. a. The Legislature finds and declares that school nursing is a separate and distinct specialty within the nursing and educational professions and that therefore competence in specified areas of health and education is needed in order for school nurses to act as health advocates for school-age children.
b. The Legislature further finds and declares that medically fragile students are often diagnosed with medical conditions and life-threatening diseases, including cerebral palsy, seizure disorder, and other neurological diseases, that require mechanical ventilation and emergent intervention by providers of clinical nursing services while attending school. Medically fragile students who require clinical nursing services while attending school should expect and receive the same level of care they receive at home. Maintaining a continuity of care for medically fragile students creates a safer environment at school, fosters learning, and gives parents confidence that their children’s medical needs are being met by qualified health care providers. Currently, there are no standards of practice in place for providers of clinical nursing services. As a result, the quality of care medically fragile students receive in school is often inadequate to meet their health care needs. Therefore, it is in the public interest that, in order to guarantee the health and safety of medically fragile students while attending school, providers of clinical nursing services for such students meet the same qualifications as providers of clinical nursing services certified to participate in the State’s Medicaid and NJ FamilyCare programs, and that parents should be given the option to choose the provider who will render clinical nursing services to their children while attending school, if the cost remains neutral to the school district.
2. Section 2 of P.L.1999, c.153 (C.18A:40-3.3) is amended to read as follows:
C.18A:40-3.3 Employment of nursing, non-nursing personnel; definitions.
2. a. A school district shall only utilize or employ for the provision of nursing services in the public schools of the district persons holding an educational services certificate with an endorsement as a school nurse issued by the State Board of Examiners, except for those non-nursing personnel who are otherwise authorized by statute or regulation to perform specific health related services. Special education students and those with medical needs requiring specialized care shall have that care rendered by an appropriate provider as appointed by the State Board of Education. No person shall be issued such certificate unless the person is licensed as a registered nurse pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1947, c.262 (C.45:11-23 et seq.) and meets all of the requirements prescribed by the board for a nursing endorsement. A school district may supplement the services provided by the certified school nurse with non-certified nurses, provided that the non-certified nurse is assigned to the same school building or school complex as the certified school nurse.
b. A medically fragile student requiring clinical nursing services shall have those services rendered by a provider of clinical nursing services as defined in this subsection. Nothing in this section shall be construed to exclude a licensed health care service firm that is approved to provide private duty nursing under the Medicaid Program and is in compliance with State Board of Education regulations. The parent or legal guardian of a medically fragile student shall have the option to choose a provider to render clinical nursing services to the student, and the State Board of Education shall allow the provider chosen by the parent or legal guardian to render such services to the student only if the cost to the school district remains neutral.
As used in this subsection:
“Medically fragile student” means a school-aged child who suffers from a life-threatening medical condition, and as a result of such condition, requires more individualized and continuous care than is available from a school nurse.
“Clinical nursing services” means specific health care services, based on a medically fragile student’s individualized education plan and a physician’s or advanced practice nurse’s orders, as provided by a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse with specialized pediatric training who attends to the student.
“Provider of clinical nursing services” means an agency that renders clinical nursing services and is approved to provide private duty nursing under the Medicaid program pursuant to P.L.1968, c.413 (C.30:4D-1 et seq.) or the NJ FamilyCare Program pursuant to P.L.2005, c.156 (C.30:4J-8 et al.).
3. This act shall take effect immediately.
Approved May 2, 2012.