Legislation to strengthen criteria for certain stroke centers and hospitals, establish a stroke advisory panel and database, and require the development of emergency stroke protocols, passed the full Assembly Thursday, 76-0-0.
Assembly Democrats Daniel Benson, Thomas Giblin, and Carol Murphy sponsored the bill.
“Strokes are one of the leading causes of death for New Jersey residents, with nearly 3,500 mortalities in 2017,” said Benson (D- Mercer and Middlesex). “Many other victims also suffer long-term disabilities as a result of this medical emergency. That is why this bill aims to ensure the implementation of an extensive statewide system of stroke care.”
The bill (A-3670) takes several steps to achieve this goal. It charges the Commissioner of Health with designating any facility as a primary, thrombectomy-capable, or comprehensive stroke center or as an acute stroke ready hospital if it has the proper certification and qualifications – regardless of how many of these facilities already exist in the state. The Commissioner is also directed to create and maintain a list of these facilities for public and medical provider reference.
Under the bill, the Commissioner is to encourage stroke centers and hospitals to coordinate with each other to ease the transfer of patients from one facility to another, if the necessary treatment cannot be provided at the patient’s current location. It also instructs these facilities to submit data regarding their stroke care which will then be compiled in an online, statewide stroke database.
“Skilled and timely action is necessary to minimize and prevent the many possible negative outcomes of a stroke,” said Giblin (D- Essex and Passaic). “With countless professionals working together to share information and get patients where they need to be, New Jersey can provide life-saving medical services to our residents.”
In addition, the measure will establish a Stroke Care Advisory Panel to evaluate the state’s system of stroke care and provide recommendations on how to improve the provision of that care.
“This comprehensive legislation will help guarantee that our state’s medical facilities are well-equipped and qualified to deal with both the short and long-term needs of stroke victims,” said Murphy (D- Burlington). “Patients can rest assured they will receive the best possible care at these New Jersey facilities.”
The bill now awaits further action by the Senate.