(TRENTON) – To ensure long-term care facilities and hospitals have appropriate supplies of vital personal protective equipment (PPE) on hand for residents and patients during public health emergencies, legislation to require licensed facilities in New Jersey to maintain an emergency inventory of PPE was signed into law Monday by Governor Phil Murphy. The law previously passed the Assembly in September 79-0, and the Senate in October 35-0.
Under the new law (formerly bill A-4282/A-4150), long-term care centers are required to maintain stockpiles of PPE sufficient for 30 or 60 days, depending on the number of facilities owned by the health system. Facilities not owned by a system or are part of a system with fewer than eight centers are able to enter a collaborative agreement with other facilities to share PPE.
Hospitals are required to maintain a 90-day supply of PPE at all times.
In the event of a public health emergency, long-term care facilities and hospitals need to immediately reevaluate their PPE inventory and secure additional supplies as needed.
The New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) is permitted to impose fines or other administrative remedies against facilities which violate the requirements of the law.
Sponsors of the new law, Assembly Democrats Nancy Pinkin (D-Middlesex), Robert Karabinchak (D-Middlesex), Daniel Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex) and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) released the following joint statement:
“At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to personal protective equipment was scarce. Many long-term care facilities lacked a stockpile of supplies. Masks, gloves, face shields and sanitizers are critical to mitigating the spread of COVID-19; without them, the virus spreads rapidly. Unfortunately, limited access to these supplies led to the devastating outbreaks that we saw happen in our long-term care facilities.
“Long-term care centers should never be without an appropriate stockpile of PPE. We must make sure these facilities are better prepared to protect residents and staff as we face a second wave of COVID-19, and for future public health emergencies.”