New Jersey Legislature Passes Bill Requiring Hospitals to Report Demographic Data on COVID-19
The New Jersey Legislature has passed a bill requiring hospitals licensed under New Jersey Statutes Title 26 to report COVID-19-related demographic data (e.g., age, ethnicity, gender, and race) to the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH).
Previously, the Governor required specific healthcare facilities to report personal protective equipment inventory (see our article, New Jersey Authorizes Director of Emergency Management to Commandeer Personal Services, Real Property) and capacity information (see our article, New Jersey: Designated ‘Health Care Facilities’ to Submit Daily Reports on Capacity, Supplies) to allocate resources to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The bill apparently would require demographic reports to help gauge the response to the pandemic.
If the bill is signed into law, covered hospitals would be required to report demographic data to DOH on individuals who tested positive and died from COVID-19 exposure.
Furthermore, hospitals would have to report such additional data as:
The number of persons who attempted to obtain treatment;
The number of persons admitted for treatment; and
The number of persons who attempted to get tested for COVID-19 but were turned away.
The reporting obligations would continue through the end of the state of emergency. Although the bill does not specifically define reporting, DOH created online portals for the mandated reporting required by previous Executive Orders (Nos. 109 and 111).
DOH will compile the data reported by the hospitals and publish the information on its website by county and municipality. The bill requires DOH to update the data on its website daily and report the data to the Governor and Legislature. The bill would take effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature.
The bill would place additional reporting obligations on hospitals beyond those already required by previous Executive Orders. The purpose appears to be transparency.