Newly Passed Bills Boost NJ’s Healthcare Industry

The New Jersey Legislature worked quickly to send Governor Murphy a package of bills to address various issues related to the coronavirus outbreak. Governor Phil Murphy has already signed legislation (A3860 and A3862) to expand access to telehealth services and to allow professional and occupational licensing boards to expedite licensure of out-of-state professionals.

Assembly Bill 3860 relaxes the existing telehealth requirement and allows practitioners to provide and bill for telemedicine. Specifically, for the duration of the coronavirus public health emergency, any New Jersey licensed healthcare practitioner will be authorized to provide and bill for all medically appropriate services using telemedicine and telehealth.

A practitioner who is not licensed in New Jersey may provide healthcare services under the bill using telemedicine and telehealth, provided that: (1) the practitioner is licensed in another state; (2) the services provided by that practitioner are consistent with the practitioner’s authorized scope of practice; (3) the services provided are limited to services related to screening for, diagnosing, or treating COVID-19, unless the practitioner has a preexisting provider-patient relationship; and (4) if the encounter does not relate to COVID-19, the practitioner must advise that the practitioner is not authorized to provide services and recommends that the patient initiate a new telehealth encounter with a healthcare practitioner licensed in New Jersey.

The bill also relaxes some of the privacy requirements in our current statute by requiring any State law or regulation be waived if necessary to facilitate the provision of healthcare services using telemedicine, including any privacy requirements that would limit the use of electronic or technological means that are not typically used in the provision of telemedicine and telehealth.

Assembly Bill 3862 relaxes licensing process for out-of-state providers when there is a declared a state of emergency by allowing the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs to expedite the professional and occupational licensing process for out-of-state individuals during a state of emergency upon approval of the Attorney General. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has already issued a waiver of the regulatory requirements. This clears the way for healthcare workers licensed in other states to work in New Jersey to address the coronavirus outbreak.

The individual applying must have a corresponding license, certificate of registration, or certification in good standing from another jurisdiction. The measure gives the director and applicable boards the ability to waive certain requirements normally required in the licensure process, such as a criminal history record background check of an individual and payment of certain fees for the license, certificate of registration, or certification.

Other bills awaiting action by Governor Murphy include:

Assembly Bill 3854 provides that, for the duration of the coronavirus public health emergency, all licensed healthcare facilities and clinical laboratories will be authorized to collect specimens for the purposes of testing for COVID-19. The bill also authorizes the Commissioner of Health, during a public health emergency, to waive mandatory staffing ratio requirements for healthcare facilities.

Assembly Bill 3856 which appropriates $10 million for healthcare and residential facility sanitation due to the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak. The funds would be used to provide financial assistance to certain healthcare and residential facilities in meeting the sanitation demands imposed by the coronavirus outbreak. These facilities are limited to: nursing homes; long-term care facilities; Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly facilities; federally qualified health centers; urgent care facilities; retirement centers; senior centers; intermediate care facilities; State developmental centers; group homes for individuals with medical needs; State psychiatric hospitals; post-acute rehabilitation centers; medical day care centers; residential schools for children with complex medical needs; group homes for individuals with mental health, substance use, or behavioral health conditions; and homeless shelters.

If you would like more information on these bills, please contact Christine Stearns. We will, of course, continue monitoring all COVID-19 related legislation and will provide updates as necessary.

More in the “Coronavirus and Your Business” Series:

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