ASSEMBLY, No. 3911

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED DECEMBER 4, 2014

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  NANCY J. PINKIN

District 18 (Middlesex)

Assemblyman  HERB CONAWAY, JR.

District 7 (Burlington)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires health care facilities to provide information and facilitate access to palliative care services.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

 


An Act concerning palliative care and supplementing Title 26 of the Revised Statutes.

 

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

 

     1.    As used in this act:

     “Appropriate” means consistent with applicable legal, health, and professional standards, the patient’s clinical and other circumstances, and the patient’s reasonably known wishes and beliefs.

     “Medical care” means services provided, requested, or supervised by a physician or advanced practice nurse.

     “Palliative care” means patient-centered and family-centered medical care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing, and treating suffering caused by serious illness.  Palliative care throughout the continuum of illness involves addressing physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs and facilitating patient autonomy, access to information, and choice.  Palliative care includes, but is not limited to: comprehensive pain and symptom management and discussion of treatment options appropriate to the patient, including hospice care, when appropriate.

     “Serious illness” means any medical illness or physical injury or condition that substantially impacts quality of life for more than a short period of time.  Serious illness includes, but is not limited to: cancer; heart, renal, or liver failure; lung disease; and Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

 

     2.    a.  There is established a “Palliative Care Consumer and Professional Information and Education Program” in the Department of Health.

     b.    The purpose of the Palliative Care Consumer and Professional Information and Education Program is to maximize the effectiveness of palliative care initiatives in the State by ensuring that comprehensive and accurate information and education about palliative care is available to the public, to health care providers, and to health care facilities.

     c.    The department may develop and implement any other initiatives regarding palliative care services and education that the department determines would further the purposes of this section.

     d.    In implementing this section, the department shall consult, at a minimum, with: the State Board of Medical Examiners, the New Jersey Board of Nursing, the Board of Pharmacy, the New Jersey Hospital Association, the New Jersey Association of Health Care Facilities, the Medical Society of New Jersey, the New Jersey Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons, the New Jersey State Nurses Association, the Home Health Assembly of New Jersey, and the New Jersey Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

 

     3.    a.  Every health care facility licensed pursuant to P.L.1971, c.136 (C.26:2H-1 et seq.) shall:

     (1)   Establish a system for identifying patients or residents who could benefit from palliative care; and

     (2)   Provide information about and facilitate access to appropriate palliative care services for patients and residents with a serious illness.

     b.    If a health care facility fails to carry out the provisions of subsection a. of this section, the Commissioner of Health shall require the facility to provide a plan of action to bring the facility into compliance, and may additionally impose a civil monetary penalty.

     c.    In implementing this section, the department shall:

     (1)   Consult, at a minimum, with: the State Board of Medical Examiners, the New Jersey Board of Nursing, the Board of Pharmacy, the New Jersey Hospital Association, the New Jersey Association of Health Care Facilities, the Medical Society of New Jersey, the New Jersey Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons, the New Jersey State Nurses Association, the Home Health Assembly of New Jersey, and the New Jersey Hospice and Palliative Care Organization; and

     (2)   Take into account factors that may impact the ability of a health care facility to comply with the requirements of subsection a. of this section.  These factors may include, but are not limited to: the size of the facility; access and proximity to palliative care services, including the availability of hospice and palliative care board-certified practitioners and related workforce staff; and geographic factors.

 

     4.    This act shall take effect on the first day of the fourth month next following enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would establish certain requirements concerning palliative care, which is patient-centered and family-centered medical care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing, and treating suffering caused by serious illness.  Palliative care may involve addressing physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs, as well as facilitating patient autonomy, access to information, and choice.  Specific examples of palliative care include comprehensive pain and symptom management and discussion of treatment options appropriate to the patient, such as hospice care.

     The bill would establish a “Palliative Care Consumer and Professional Information and Education Program” in the Department of Health, which would maximize the effectiveness of palliative care initiatives in the State by ensuring that comprehensive and accurate information and education about palliative care is available to the public, to health care providers, and to health care facilities.  The department would be permitted to develop and implement any other initiatives regarding palliative care services and education that the department determines would further this purpose.

     The bill would additionally require all licensed health care facilities to establish a system for identifying patients or residents who could benefit from palliative care, and to provide information about and facilitate access to appropriate palliative care services for those patients and residents.  If a health care facility fails to meet these requirements, the facility would be required to provide the Commissioner of Health with a plan of action to bring the facility into compliance, and could additionally be subject to a civil monetary penalty.  In implementing these requirements, the department would be required to take into account factors that may impact a health care facility’s ability to establish an information an access system, including: the size of the facility; access and proximity to palliative care services, including the availability of hospice and palliative care board-certified practitioners and related workforce staff; and geographic factors.

     Additionally, in implementing both the Palliative Care Consumer and Professional Information and Education Program and the requirement that facilities establish a palliative care information and access system, the department would be required to consult, at a minimum, with: the State Board of Medical Examiners, the New Jersey Board of Nursing, the Board of Pharmacy, the New Jersey Hospital Association, the New Jersey Association of Health Care Facilities, the Medical Society of New Jersey, the New Jersey Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons, the New Jersey State Nurses Association, the Home Health Assembly of New Jersey, and the New Jersey Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.