Conaway, Tucker & Benson Bill to Protect Patients Getting Cosmetic Surgical Procedures Clears Assembly Committee

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D., Cleopatra Tucker and Daniel Benson requiring physicians to perform cosmetic surgical procedures in facilities that meet nationally recognized standards for patient safety and quality care was approved Thursday by an Assembly panel.

“An increasing number of invasive cosmetic surgical procedures are being performed in medical offices and outpatient surgical facilities that are not adequately equipped, by physicians with inadequate surgical training who are utilizing inappropriate anesthesia,” said Conaway (D-Burlington). “This is a recipe for disaster at the patient’s expense. This bill ensures that these procedures are performed in an appropriate setting that is conducive to safe, high-quality patient care.”

The bill (A-1824) limits where certain cosmetic surgical procedures may be performed in New Jersey. Specifically, the bill provides that a physician can only perform the following procedures in an office or facility that is accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAAF), the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) or The Joint Commission:

  • a liposuction procedure that involves more than 750 cubic centimeters of aspirate;
  • a procedure that utilizes a breast implant; or
  • an aesthetic truncal contouring procedure that involves the excision of skin.

The accreditation provided by AAAASF, AAAHC, and The Joint Commission certifies that the accredited entity meets nationally recognized standards for patient safety and quality care, including standards that apply to the environment, policy and procedures for the operating and recovery rooms, general safety, medical records, quality assessment and improvement, personnel and anesthesia.

“We have heard the sad stories about patients dying from complications from clandestine cosmetic procedures performed in facilities lacking the equipment necessary to ensure their safety,” said Tucker (D- Essex). “This behavior is irresponsible and puts lives at risk. This bill makes it clear that these surgeries can only be carried out in facilities that have been certified as safe.”

“Any surgery is inherently risky, but the risk is amplified if the facility where the surgery is performed does not meet the necessary safety prerequisites,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “The accreditations afforded by these agencies are meant to protect patients. No one should have to go into an operating room that lacks the provisions that can help a patient if complications arise.”

The provisions of the bill do not apply to licensed dentists or dually licensed oral and maxillofacial surgeons practicing in the state. The bill, which would take effect on the 90th day after enactment, was released by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.

The bill was released by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.