NJBIA recently hosted a virtual meeting of the Health Affairs Policy Committee to discuss new developments regarding healthcare policy and employment issues.  

The event last week was attended by Chairman of the Assembly Health Committee Herb Conaway (D-7) and JaNea Wilson, supervising business representative at the New Jersey Department of Labor. 

During an overview of the upcoming agenda, Chairman Conaway said advancing a bill package concerning reforms of long-term care is a top priority. To ensure that New Jersey residents are receiving the care they need, Conaway said there needs to be a control for inputs that deal with costs and an increase in resources.  

The assemblyman also explained that, although New Jersey currently has a good star rating for big institutions, we can expect to see discussion about whether the rating system needs to be updated for long-term care institutions.  

Conaway also said he hopes to address questions of oversight for care provided outside of big institutions in long term care. He suggested that a regulatory framework needs to be created to award protections and guidelines for both the patients and care providers.  

Conaway said he has a vested interest in protecting children and young people from the negative externalities of social media use. He stated that evidence clearly shows signs of alarming rates of depression and anxiety directly related to social media use, and he believes that the government has the responsibility to protect citizens from these effects. Therefore, he is working to craft a bill that would require social media platforms to take responsibility for their impact on society.  

Conaway also addressed the New Jersey immunization system. He explained that New Jersey needs to create an opt-out system, rather than an opt-in system, so the state can be in the best position possible for reporting vaccine distribution as it directly impacts our ability to draw on federal supplies.  

The assemblyman gave a brief explanation of the medical aid and dying program in order to explain that the state would be looking into eliminating the 15-day waiting period for patients in certain circumstances. 

Lastly, Conaway stated hospital at-home programs have been on the agenda for discussion only. He is looking to extend the reach of these programs beyond Medicare recipients because, he said, programs such as this reduce the number of untoward outcomes related to hospitalizations.   

Following Conaway’s agenda updates, JaNea Wilson, supervising business representative at NJDOLWD said the agency was assisting NJBIA members through hiring events and utilizing networks and connections of her staff to spread information to job seekers and fill critical job openings across the state. 

NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Alexis Bailey closed out the meeting by giving an overall update regarding priority legislation.  

She noted that NJBIA is continuing to seek amendments on the domestic workers bill (S-723) to make protections for workers under this bill similar to those afforded to other types of workers.  

Bailey also said NJBIA still remains strongly opposed to the service worker bill (S-2389), which mandates a 90-day retention of service employees during a change of contract ownership at a number of covered locations, including various healthcare facilities. She stated that this bill stops employers from having control over who they hire. 

Finally, Bailey mentioned that NJBIA is watching for updates on the Healthcare Workforce bill package put forth by Majority Leader Louis Greenwald. She noted that two bills in this package moved through the Assembly Labor Committee address the state’s responsibility to make information about healthcare job opportunities more accessible to the public and requires NJDOLWD to recruit unemployed individuals into the healthcare field.