(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, the full Assembly on Thursday voted 79-0 to approve legislation to require licensed facilities in New Jersey to maintain an emergency inventory of PPE.
Under the measure (A-4282/A-4150), long-term care centers would be 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 would be able to enter a collaborative agreement with other facilities to share PPE.
Hospitals would be 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 would need to immediately reevaluate their PPE inventory and secure additional supplies as needed.
The New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) would be permitted to impose fines or other administrative remedies against facilities which violate the requirements of the bill.
The measure’s sponsors, 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 should we see a second wave of COVID-19, and for future public health emergencies.”