Gov. Phil Murphy has signed three bills into law which are aimed at improving infection prevention and control responses in nursing homes by ensuring staff have access to the training, resources and education they need, piloting professional advancement programs for nurse aides, assessing and improving nursing home infrastructure, and ensuring complete and accurate reporting of COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes.
The bill signings were reported in a press release issued by the New Jersey Senate Democrats.
The first law, formerly S-3031, will require the Board of Nursing and the Department of Health to review the curriculum and clinical experience requirements for nurses and certified nurse aides and incorporate the Nursing Home Infection Preventionist Training Course offered through the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or a successor course, according to the press release.
Under the law, the Department of Health will also be required to work with long-term care facilities and labor organizations to establish a pilot program to develop standards for the professional advancement of certified nurse aides, according to the press release.
The second law, formerly S-3032, will require the Department of Health to conduct a statewide nursing home infection control and prevention infrastructure assessment and develop a statewide plan to improve existing systems, according to the press release.
The third law, formerly S-3041, will require the Department of Health to display on its website the total number of COVID-19 cases and deaths of employees and residents of long-term care facilities in the state, by facility, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the total number of new daily COVID-19 cases and deaths of employees and residents, according to the press release.
“It is widely known that COVID-19 disproportionately affects the elderly and, as a result, many of our state’s elderly citizens have succumbed to COVID-19 in the last several months,” said Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth), who was one of the sponsors of S-3041.
“In order to help our people, we must take actions to hold facilities accountable for tallying their total cases and deaths. By doing this, we can see where and when spikes are occurring and take appropriate measure to stop them,” Gopal said.