State Sen. Joseph Vitale‘s (D-Woodbridge) efforts to get single-room surgical facilities under the same regulatory umbrella as other surgical facilities advanced Monday, as his proposed legislation moved through the Senate’s Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee unanimously.
Vitale sponsored the same bill in the last legislative session after a study by the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute authored a report finding many of the one-room facilities in New Jersey had deficient patient safety standards. The bill was pocket vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie because of a 2.95 percent tax assessment on single-room facilities, required by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“The bill that passed out of committee is in its original form, from last session, which included the assessment that the governor had a concern with, that I shared that concern with,” Vitale said. “We’re going to try to move the bill along as it is, and try to address that issue. I’d rather not have to apply the assessment, but we may, at the end of the day, not have a choice.”
“CMS requires that we apply any assessment equally, so the assessment we now apply to multiple suite facilities would have to apply to single-suite facilities, because they’re the same, they deliver essentially the same services,” Vitale said, adding he would explore the possibility of a waiver from CMS.
The legislation would ensure all surgical facilities are licensed and inspected by the Department of Health and Senior Services. Vitale said the bill has the support of the New Jersey Hospital Association and the Quality Institute in addition to his fellow committee members.
“They’re recognizing not only the importance of the issue, which is making sure that they are properly inspected and licensed, but that we can ensure there’s a comfort level on patient safety. The members obviously believe that,” Vitale said.