Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrat Joseph Cryan to establish a more inclusive system for trauma care in the state has been signed into law.
The law provides for the establishment of a statewide trauma care system plan, which will include all health care facilities in the state providing care to injured patients in the State, to the extent that their resources and capabilities allow. New Jersey has had “exclusive” trauma system, with trauma patients going to designated trauma centers, even though that may not be optimal for some patients.
“The former system placed restrictions on where a patient was able to go to receive the medical attention needed,” said Cryan (D-Union). “This is about making sure trauma patients are receiving the best care in the most appropriate setting that suits their needs.
“By bringing all trauma units under one direction, we enable medical providers to help their patients choose the best center for their situation.”
Cryan notes that his law incorporates recommendations made by the American College of Surgeons Trauma System Evaluation and Planning Committee after the state Department of Health sought counsel regarding the State’s trauma system.
Specifically, the law designates the Department of Health as lead agency over a statewide trauma care system. The commissioner is to appoint a State Trauma Medical Director to oversee the planning, development, ongoing maintenance, and enhancement of the trauma system, with the advice of a multidisciplinary advisory body. The law also provides for the establishment of that body in the form of a State Trauma System Advisory Committee (STSAC). The STSAC, with ongoing input from stakeholders, is to study the state’s trauma care system, collect data, and provide a report and recommendations to the State Trauma System Medical Director and the commissioner on the development of a statewide trauma system plan, which will provide the basis for the commissioner’s development of regulations implementing a statewide trauma system plan. The STSAC’s initial report, containing the statewide trauma system plan, is due within one year after the effective date.
After enacted, the STSAC will be required to systematically review strategies to maintain and improve the state trauma system and submit an annual report to the commissioner and the director on its activities, and provide any recommendations it determines are necessary to improve the state trauma system.
“These were credible recommendations made by the American College of Surgeons that will help us create a better plan for trauma care in the state,” said Cryan. “A more unified, inclusive state trauma care system will help to improve efficiency in care as well as provide direction for the future of trauma care in New Jersey.”