SENATE, No. 2376

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED SEPTEMBER 22, 2014

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator† JOSEPH F. VITALE

District 19 (Middlesex)

Senator† ROBERT M. GORDON

District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senator Lesniak

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Establishes remote medical consultation assistance grant program in DOH.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

††


An Act concerning remote consultations by community health centers and supplementing Title 26 of the Revised Statutes.

 

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

 

†††† 1.††† There is established in the Department of Health a remote medical consultation assistance grant program.† The purpose of this program shall be to award grants, subject to appropriations, to federally qualified health centers to enable and encourage their primary health care providers to employ technology to consult with medical specialists whose expertise may otherwise be difficult for the centerís patients to access, with the intention that this improved access to specialist knowledge will improve the quality of care provided at participating health centers and reduce the need for costly face-to-face patient visits to medical specialists. Grant recipients shall use funding awarded pursuant to this act for costs associated with participation in a remote medical consultation program, which may include, but need not be limited to, participation or membership fees and acquisition and maintenance of computer equipment used for remote consultations.

 

†††† 2.††† This act shall take effect on July 1 next following the date of enactment, except that the Commissioner of Health may take any anticipatory administrative action in advance as shall be necessary for the implementation of this act.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill would establish in the Department of Health a remote medical consultation assistance grant program.† The purpose of the program is to award grants, subject to appropriations, to federally qualified health centers to enable and encourage their primary health care providers to employ technology to consult with medical specialists whose expertise may otherwise be difficult for the centerís patients to access, with the intention that this improved access to specialist knowledge will improve the quality of care provided at participating health centers and reduce the need for costly face-to-face patient visits to medical specialists.† Grant recipients would be required to use grant funds for costs associated with participation in a remote medical consultation program, which may include, but need not be limited to, participation or membership fees and acquisition and maintenance of computer equipment used for remote consultations.

†††† One such program, Project ECHO, connects primary care providers to teams of specialists via weekly video conferences on specific topics, allowing the primary care providers to discuss specific patientsí cases and improve their general knowledge of the best evidence-based treatments for their patientsí most common problems.† The program was started at the University of New Mexico in 2003, and has since grown to include hubs in 31 universities assisting providers in more than one thousand clinics who focus on 26 specialties, including womenís health, diabetes, addiction, and chronic pain.