New Law To Help Promote Compassionate Palliative Treatment Options

Will establish statewide education program for palliative and hospice care

A bill designed to ensure the public, health care providers and health care facilities receive comprehensive and accurate information and education about palliative care and terminal illness was signed into law Friday.

The law – formerly bill Assembly Bill 312 – will establish a Palliative Care and Hospice Care Consumer and Professional Information and Education Program in the Department of Health (DOH) requiring all facilities identified by the Commissioner of Health to provide information about appropriate palliative care and hospice care services to patients and residents with a serious illness.

In implementing these requirements, DOH would be required to take into account the size of the facility; access and proximity to palliative care and hospice care services, including the availability of hospice and palliative care board-certified practitioners and related workforce staff; geographic factors; and any other factors that may impact the ability of a hospital, nursing home or facility to comply.

The Commissioner may also require a facility that fails to comply with the new law to provide a plan of action to bring the facility into compliance.

In addition, the law establishes the Palliative Care and Hospice Care Advisory Council within DOH.

In collaboration with the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, the council would be charged with implementing the provisions of the law; developing information to be provided to patients and residents by hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities; and facilitating the provision of this information and developing resources and programs to aid access to palliative care and hospice care services for patients and residents. 

A312 was sponsored by Assembly Democrats Nancy Pinkin, D-18th District; Herb Conaway, D-7th District; Thomas Giblin, D-34th District; Jamel Holley, D-20th District; Joseph Danielsen, D-17th District; Raj Mukherji, D-33rd District; and Benjie Wimberly  D-35th District.

Original Article