The full Senate unanimously passed legislation by Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-40) to require all hospitals to have protocols to immediately transfer critically ill patients to other facilities for better treatment.
“People suffer unparalleled trauma and anxiety when they or loved ones are critically ill,” O’Toole said. “There is nothing worse for a patient and a patient’s family than feeling hopelessly trapped in intensive care, knowing they are being inexcusably denied a better chance for survival at a nearby facility.”
Senator O’Toole’s S-1973 requires hospitals to do the following, subject to state Department of Health oversight and inspection, as well as penalties:
- Ensure immediate dispatch, timely patient pick-up from the sending hospital, and transport to the receiving hospital by a Specialty Care Transportation Units (SCTU) used for patient inter-facility transfers; and
- Establish contingency transport procedures if a hospital’s SCTU is not immediately available for dispatch.
Hospitals in violation are subject to a civil penalty of $5,000 and revocation of state license.
“New Jersey’s hospitals must have the necessary protocols in place so that there will be immediate dispatch by a transferring hospital for patients who are critically ill and need to be transported to a facility that can better accommodate their needs,” O’Toole emphasized. “Patients should be afforded the best possible care in their fight for survival. Their lives should not be jeopardized by a hospital’s ineffectiveness or unpreparedness.”
Gov. Chris Christie will now consider signing this measure into law.