Quijano & Sumter Bill to Ensure Health Care Facilities Can Use Generators Advanced by Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano and Shavonda Sumter sponsored to ensure health care facilities be either equipped with a generator or electrical transfer switch and wiring to which a portable generator can be connected was released Monday by an Assembly panel.
The bill (A-4324) stems from concern following the widespread power outages seen throughout New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy.
“It’s frightening to think that those power outages put health care facilities at risk,” said Quijano (D-Union). “We’ve taken steps to ensure gas stations can be equipped with generators, but these facilities must also be prepared. They care for some of our most vulnerable residents, and we need to ensure they’re ready to go should we get hit with more power outages.”
Health care facilities included under the provisions of the bill include nursing homes; assisted living facilities; comprehensive personal care homes; pediatric community transitional homes; federally qualified health centers; dialysis centers; hospice in-patient cares; or residential health care centers connected to another licensed facility.
“These facilities cannot be left in the dark,” said Sumter (D-Passaic/Bergen). “They need to be ready, and this is a reasonable requirement.”
The bill requires that these facilities be equipped with a generator or be generator ready within three years of the effective date of the bill.
The bill requires that a generator or generator connection be capable of supporting the following for a minimum of 24 hours:
· critical life support equipment;
· refrigeration for medications;
· lighting for means of egress, exit signs, and exit directional signs;
· emergency lighting in common areas;
· equipment necessary for maintaining back-up communications;
· elevator service if required for the relocation of patients or residents within the facility or evacuation from the facility;
· a fire pump, well pump, or sump pump, if installed;
· a sewerage pump, if installed;
· fire, smoke and other safety detection alarm systems; and
· emergency lighting and power required for the generator at the generator connection point.
The bill also requires the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to offer financial assistance in the form of low-interest loans to eligible facilities for the purchase and installation of a generator, or to make the facility generator ready.
The authority must begin accepting applications no later than 91 days after the enactment of the bill and must begin approving the applications within a reasonable time thereafter.
The bill was released by the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee chaired by Quijano.