Senator JOSEPH F. VITALE
District 19 (Middlesex)
Requires certain health care facilities to provide, and employees to receive, annual influenza vaccination.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
As reported by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on December 12, 2019, with amendments.
An Act concerning influenza vaccination 1[of certain health care workers]1 and supplementing Title 26 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. a. As used in this act:
“Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Health.
“Health care facility” means a general or special hospital, nursing home, or home health care agency licensed pursuant to P.L.1971, c.136 (C.26:2H-1 et seq.).
1[“Health care worker” means a person employed by a health care facility who provides direct patient care or otherwise has contact with patients.]1
b. Commencing with the 1[2018-2019] onset of the first1 influenza season 1next following the effective date of this act1 , each health care facility shall establish and implement an annual influenza vaccination program in accordance with the current recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and any rules and regulations adopted by the commissioner pursuant to this act.
c. For the purposes of its annual influenza vaccination program, each health care facility shall:
(1) annually 1[offer to]1 provide an on-site or off-site influenza vaccination to each of its 1[health care workers] employees1 ;
(2) require that each 1[health care worker] employee1 at the facility receive an influenza vaccination 1annually, no later than December 31 of the current influenza season as determined by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which vaccination shall be1 provided by the health care facility, except that 1[a health care worker] an employee1 may, in lieu of receiving the influenza vaccination at the facility, present acceptable proof, 1[including] comprising:
(a)1 an attestation from the 1[health care worker,] employee, which shall be submitted in a form and manner designated by the facility,1 of a current influenza vaccination 1,1 if the 1[health care worker] employee1 receives the vaccination from another vaccination source 1[,] , which attestation shall include the lot number of the vaccination the employee received;1 or 1[sign a written declination statement]
(b) a medical exemption, which shall be submitted using a form designated by the Department of Health, stating that the influenza vaccination for that employee is medically contraindicated, as enumerated by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An attestation of a medical exemption shall be subject to approval by the facility following a review by the facility to confirm the medical exemption is consistent with standards enumerated by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices1 ;
(3) maintain a record or attestation, as applicable, of influenza vaccinations 1and medical exemptions1 for each 1[health care worker, retain each signed declination statement from a health care worker who elects not to receive an influenza vaccination,] employee1 and report to the Department of Health, in a manner and according to a schedule prescribed by the commissioner, the vaccination percentage rate of its 1[health care]1 workforce in receiving influenza vaccinations as part of the facility’s annual vaccination program or by other means as attested to by the 1[health care]1 workforce, as applicable. The report may also include other information that the facility deems relevant to its vaccination percentage rate, including, but not limited to, the number of 1[health care workers] employees1 who 1[signed declination statements that the facility has received] received medical exemptions1;
(4) provide an educational component to its program that is designed to inform 1[health care workers] employees1 about: influenza vaccination; non-vaccine influenza control measures; and the symptoms, transmission, and potential impact of influenza; 1[and]1
(5) annually conduct an evaluation of the program with the goal of improving the rate of vaccination among its 1[health care workers] employees; and
(6) require any employee who does not receive an influenza vaccination to wear a surgical or procedural mask when in direct contact with patients and in common areas, as specified in facility policy, or to be removed from direct patient care responsibilities during influenza season1 .
d. A health care facility may suspend its annual 1[offer of]1 influenza vaccination 1program1 pursuant to this act in the event of a shortage of influenza vaccine as determined by the commissioner.
e. (1) 1[Any] The commissioner may assess such penalties and take other actions against a health care facility, as provided in P.L.1971, c.136 (C.26:2H-1 et seq.), or any rules and regulation adopted pursuant thereto, for any1 determination by the commissioner of noncompliance by a health care facility or any of its 1[health care workers] employees1 with the provisions of this act 1[, based upon an inspection or survey conducted by the Department of Health pursuant to section 5 of P.L.1971, c.136 (C.26:2H-5), or as otherwise determined by the commissioner, shall not constitute a licensure violation or deficiency with respect to that facility for the purposes of P.L.1971, c.136 (C.26:2H-1 et seq.), or any rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto]1 .
(2) The commissioner shall seek to minimize any record-keeping burden imposed on a health care facility pursuant to this act and shall take such actions as are necessary to ensure the confidentiality of any data furnished to the department pursuant to this act that may contain information identifying an individual 1[health care worker] employee1.
(3) The commissioner shall make available to the public aggregate data reported by a facility pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection c. of this section.
f. A health care facility shall not discharge or reduce the pay of 1[a health care worker] an employee1 who [declines to receive an] receives a medical exemption from the annual1 influenza vaccination 1requirement1 .
g. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a health care facility from 1[taking measures to protect its patients in the event that a health care worker declines to receive an influenza vaccination, which measures may include, but are not limited to, relocation or change of assignment of a health care worker] adopting additional policies and procedures with regard to the annual influenza vaccine that are not inconsistent with the requirements of this section1 .
2. No later than August 1st of each year, the commissioner shall report to the Governor, and to the Legislature pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), on the vaccination percentage rates of 1[health care workers] employees1 for the prior influenza season.
3. The Commissioner of Health, pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B- 1 et seq.), shall adopt rules and regulations as necessary to implement the provisions of this act.
4. This act shall take effect immediately.