Assemblyman Herb Conaway, Jr., Chairman of the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee highlighted his upcoming priorities for the NJBIA Health Affairs Committee Nov. 1. They include expanding the Board of Directors at University Hospital, ensuring patients have access to chemotherapeutic medications, addressing the lead in New Jersey’s drinking water, hosting a roundtable discussion on the mental health of youth, and addressing insurance claims for patients with complex needs. The Chairman also referenced health insurance cost containment by the state’s efforts to ensure New Jersey residents are covered by the Affordable Care Act.
Shabnam Salih, Policy Advisor for Governor Murphy, highlighted the Governor’s top healthcare priorities, including continuing to address the opioid epidemic, addressing mental health, infant mortality, lead in drinking water, and health insurance cost containment. Additionally, with Nov. 1 being the first day of open enrollment, Shabnam pointed out that New Jersey has been approved to create a state- based health insurance exchange set for operation in 2021. Furthermore, Governor Murphy announced $3.1 million to support outreach and enrollment efforts to cover New Jersey citizens. Salih also highlighted the savings already seen by the recommendations of the State Health Benefits Task Force. More information can be found here.
The Department of Banking and Insurance also intends to propose regulations to implement the Out-Of-Network Consumer Protection, Transparency, Cost Containment and Accountability Act, P.L. 2018, c. 32 (N.J.S.A. 26:2SS-1 to -20, “the Act”). The Department is providing this advance notice seeking your feedback concerning the implementation of the Act. You can provide any feedback concerning the proposed guidance as set forth in the synopsis via e-mail to AdvanceNotice@dobi.nj.gov by November 29, 2019. The advance notice can be found here.
The committee also discussed their support/opposition with the following legislation:
- Oppose: A-382, Jimenez, Establishes minimum certified nurse aide-to-resident ratios in nursing homes.
- Oppose: A-1470, Benson/Vitale, Establishes minimum registered professional nurse staffing standards for hospitals and ambulatory surgery facilities and certain DHS facilities.
- Support: A-4013, Coughlin, Reinstates prior property tax exemption for nonprofit hospitals with on-site for-profit medical providers; requires some of these hospitals to pay community service contributions; establishes Nonprofit Hospital Community Service Contribution Study Commission
- Oppose: A-3726/S-4039, Kennedy/Smith, requires large food waste generators to separate and recycle food waste as designated facilities. This bill was conditionally vetoed by the Governor.
It is unlikely that the Legislature will concur or override the CV, thus a new bill is likely. Hospitals and other generators need to be aware of their systems to determine if they are covered by the bill.
The committee was also reminded of the release by DOBI of the advance copy of the out of network regulations.
With insurance premiums continually increasing, NJBIA also discussed the need to address the overall cost of providing health insurance coverage to employees. Additionally, NJBIA updated the committee about the potential impacts the Governor’s Energy Master Plan can have on rates for all ratepayers.