Government Affairs

Whats Happening in Trenton

May 2018

In early May, a bipartisan group of Senators led by Senator Joe Vitale (D-Middlesex) introduced a bill to overhaul the State’s medicinal marijuana program. In addition to revising requirements for alternative treatment centers (dispensaries), establishing additional legal protections for patients and caregivers, and revising requirements to authorize and access medical marijuana,this new draft of the legislation expressly includes physician assistants as authorized prescribers of this medication along with APNs. Current law only allows physicians to prescribe. We know that this legislation will likely be amended again before it receives a hearing and really begins its legislative journey in earnest, but this is great news and we are very excited to have PAs included!  Our lobbyists will be monitoring this bill very closely.

The Legislature is back in full gear now, following the April "budget break."  We can expect nonstop action on high profile issues such as the above-mentioned expansion of the medicinal marijuana program and even the legalization of recreational marijuana.  The topic that is hovering above all others, however, is the State Budget for the upcoming fiscal year.  Governor Murphy's first proposed budget has not been greeted enthusiastically by the Legislature, including the leaders of both the Senate and Assembly who are from the same political party as the Governor.  Governor Murphy's proposed tax increases and new expenditures have both received a cool reception.  As June heats up, so will the debate between the two branches of government.  However, an agreement will have to be reached by the end of June, as the July 1 deadline for a balanced budget is mandated by the New Jersey Constitution.

 

Finally, we continue to make progress on two of NJSSPA’s major goals for 2018.

NJSSPA was successful in amending legislation (S482 / A1704) which authorizes gestational carrier agreements. The amendment explicitly adds PAs among the practitioners who can provide pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum care to gestational carriers.  Sponsored by Senator Joe Vitale (D-Middlesex) and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), this legislation was signed by the Governor on May 30th!

Our priority bill for this year, legislation allowing PAs to sign Physician Orders for Life-Saving Treatment (POLST) forms, was reintroduced by Senator Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex) and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (R-Somerset).  The bills are now designated as S1109 and A2144. S1109 was heard by Senate Health Committee on March 12.  Tracey Piparo, NJSSPA’s GAC chair joined our lobbyist, Lynn Nowak, in testifying in support of the bill.  It was released unanimously.  An additional amendment was added which changes the “P” in POLST from “physician” to “provider.”  The bill passed unanimously out of the entire Senate chamber on April 12th (the vote was 36-0) and now goes to the Assembly to repeat the same process.

 

 

In Trenton, we are entering the annual “budget break,” in April as the legislature suspends most activity except for meetings of the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees.  Over the coming weeks, they will be interviewing each member of Governor Murphy’s cabinet and going over their department’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2019.  The Governor delivered the annual budget address on March 13.

 

In the first three months of the new session, NJSSPA succeeded in accomplishing two major goals:

  1. Our priority bill for this year, legislation allowing PAs to sign Physician Orders for Life-Saving Treatment (POLST) forms, was reintroduced by Senator Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex) and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (R-Somerset). The bills are now designated as S1109 and A2144.   S1109 was heard by Senate Health Committee on March 12.  Tracey Piparo, NJSSPA’s GAC chair joined our lobbyist, Lynn Nowak, in testifying in support of the bill.  It was released unanimously.  An additional amendment was added which changes the “P” in POLST from “physician” to “provider.”  It now awaits a vote by the full Senate and will then go to the Assembly to repeat the same process.
  2. NJSSPA was successful in amending legislation (S482 / A1704) which authorizes gestational carrier agreements. The amendment explicitly adds PAs among the practitioners who can provide pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum care to gestational carriers. Sponsored by Senator Joe Vitale (D-Middlesex) and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), the legislation has successfully passed out of committee in both the Senate and the Assembly and is currently awaiting a full vote in both houses.

NJSSPA will continue to monitor these pieces of legislation to ensure that they complete the legislative process and will remain actively involved in budget discussions in whatever way possible to advocate for funding necessary to address additional NJSSPA legislative priorities.

Rev. May 2018

 

New Opioid Law

 

ALERT: LEGISLATION CLARIFYING S3, EXPANDING ACCESS TO PMP! Among one of his last acts in office, on Jan 15 2018, Governor Christie signed legislation, S3604, sponsored by Senator Vitale and Speaker Coughlin (both D-Middlesex), that provides additional anti-addiction measures related to the prescribing of controlled dangerous substances.  The law took effect immediately.

The heart of the bill delineates when practitioners MUST access prescription monitoring information. It adds benzodiazepine drugs when a practitioner prescribes for the first time. It also delineates how controlled dangerous substances may be prescribed in an emergency room (cannot exceed a five-day but that will not apply once the Division of Consumer Affairs makes prescription monitoring information in an electronic system).

 

For additional details and further analysis of the bill you can see it below

Law Status

Modernization Act       Regulations Published

Bills Signed into Law in Lame Duck Session 2018

S3604 – New Opioid Law

Signed 1/15/2018

Concerns prescribing of

http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2016/Bills/S4000/3604_R2.HTM

S2205 – Online Licensing

Signed 1/15/18

Note:  Division of Consumer Affairs is given 3 years to get this up and running.  

http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2016/Bills/S2500/2205_R1.HTM

S294 – Opioid Antidote Mandate

Signed 1/15/18

Mandate Regarding Provision of Treatment Information by Health Care Professional to Person Receiving Opioid Antidote. 

 http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2016/Bills/S0500/294_R3.HTM

PA Modernization Act

 

Signed into law 2017

Telemedicine

Telemedicine

S291/A1464
Signed into law July 21, 2017.

Provides a framework for providers including physician assistants in providing telemedicine.
 
 
 

 

S1305 Diabetes Self Management

Diabetes Self-Management

A2993/S1305
Signed into law 

PAs are among the providers authorized to order the diabetes self-management education and/or medical nutrition therapy.

 

 

S468

Hazardous Drug Safe Handling Act

A837 / S468
Public Law 2017, c.28
Signed into law February 15, 2017

 
 NJSSPA has a designated representative on the Stakeholder Group established by the law. 
 

 

Government Affairs Committee Chair

Tracey M. Piparo, PA-C


John Albanese, MPA PA-C

Diane Daw, PA-C, NJSSPA Past President

Camille Dyer, PA-C

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