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Rice Calls For An End To Denying Care For Aids Patients

Senator Expresses Angry As Another example Why We Need Treatment and Not Needles

NEWARK – Senator Ronald L. Rice is drafting legislation which would revise the criteria for admission into the Broadway House for Continuing Care, in Newark to include special needs patients with HIV/AIDS diseases.

Senator Rice is working on changing through new legislation, the standards that nurses use when determining if special nursing care is necessary. The 28th district Senator became aware of the problem when a man with full-blown AIDS, active TB and several other chronic diseases entered a hospital and was not going to be sent to Broadway House, the only nursing state affiliated care facility to deal specifically with AIDS victims in New Jersey.

The social worker for the man reported that he is expected to be discharged from a hospital today and sent to a homeless shelter instead of a specialized health care facility like Broadway House, that will be able to provide the patient with needed care, and keep him from spreading diseases to others.

The current requirements determined by the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHS) states that nurses will determine if nursing care is needed if they are unable to perform the activities of daily living which include: bathing, eating, and mobility. Broadway House has been working with the DHS to allow flexibility and to permit more sick individuals to receive the care they need.

“The Broadway House is New Jersey’s only specialized nursing facility that cares for individuals with AIDS, but the criteria to get into the treatment facility needs to be changed in order to help those who are most in need,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “It is inexcusable for a hospital to discharge an AIDS infected man to a homeless shelter rather than a facility that offers the specialized care this individual needs. DHS is rushing to get flu shot regulations in place but has dragged its feet for almost a year with the Broadway House admissions policy.”

Senator Rice noted that the AIDS infected individual was discharged today and given access to a Jersey City homeless shelter. The Senator went on to say that the man is non-compliant with taking medications, has existing behavioral issues that do not rise to the level of hurting himself or others, yet are destructive in a uncontrolled environment.

“How can it be that a patient, living with a dangerous and deadly virus, who is unable to function on his own in the community was discharged from a hospital, placed in a taxi, and sent on his way,” said Senator Rice.

The legislation being drafted by Senator Rice intends to change the factors for admission to include any HIV positive person with other medical issues such as, diabetes, cancers, and hepatitis. Other regulations would also allow any person with an AIDS defining illness and infection or has depression, mental illness or homelessness to be qualified for admission.

“What is so troubling about turning away a very sick man with AIDS is that he could cause more harm by spreading the disease in a homeless shelter,” said Senator Rice. “Broadway House has room for this man, and many others; but with the current criteria in place, to many sick people are being put back on the streets.”

“It’s ridiculous that because Governor McGreevey signed an executive order for a needle exchange program we will give this gentleman a syringe to get high, but we will not allow him to receive the care and treatment he needs and Broadway House can provide.”