New Jersey State Legislative Developments: August 2017
On June 26, 2017, Governor Christie signed three pieces of legislation affecting the elderly, organ donation and hospital interns that have been adopted this month.
Governor Chris Christie signed legislation aimed to protect against elder abuse in institutional settings, such as a skilled nursing or assisted living facility. Coined as “Peggy’ Law,” the legislation requires staff employed by a facility serving elderly persons to report suspected abuse or exploitation of an elderly institutionalized person to the Ombudsman or to the Ombudsman’s designee. If the facility’s staff person has reasonable cause to believe the elderly institutionalized person has been a victim of a crime, the individual must report the information to the local law enforcement agency and to the health administrator of the facility. Peggy’s Law requires the Ombudsman’s Office to implement a system to receive complaints on a 24/7 basis. The legislation amends N.J.S.A. 52:27G 7 and N.J.S.A.52:27G 7.1.
He also signed legislation to amend the Health Care Quality Act to require health insurance carriers, such as the State Health Benefits Program and the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program to inform covered persons about organ and tissue donation. This will go into effect in September 2017 and amends N.J.S.A. 26:2S-1. et. seq.
In addition, he signed legislation to eliminate the current exemption from unemployment insurance (UI) coverage for service performed as an intern in the employ of a hospital by an individual who has completed a four-year course in a medical school approved pursuant to the laws of this State. The bill therefore provides that those interns would be eligible for UI benefits and subject to UI taxes to the same degree as other hospital employees. This legislation amends N.J.S.A. 43:21-19.