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Senate Approves Codey Bill Requiring Employee Drug Testing At State Facilities Housing The Most Vulnerable

Bill is Part of Larger Codey Package Designed to Improve Patient Safety, Strengthen Hiring & Training and Increase Oversight at Psychiatric Hospitals

TRENTON – The full Senate today unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Senate President Richard J. Codey that would require employee drug testing at state psychiatric hospitals, developmental centers and veterans’ memorial homes. The bill, S2493, is part of a three-bill package designed to protect patient safety, strengthen hiring and training practices and increase oversight at state psychiatric hospitals and other facilities.

“These hospitals are home to some of the state’s most vulnerable residents,” said Sen. Codey (D-Essex). “We need to ensure that they are in the care of staff that are appropriately trained and focused on their best interests. This bill is part of a broader approach that will help transform the way we care for the mentally ill and address a number of patient safety issues that have arisen at state-run facilities.”

Sen. Codey worked closely with the Public Advocate’s office in drafting these bills, in part, to address a number of injuries and deaths that had arisen recently at state facilities such as Ancora Psychiatric Hospital. The bill approved today would require future employees of state psychiatric hospitals, developmental centers and veterans’ memorial homes to undergo drug testing for controlled dangerous substances as a condition of employment. Current employees at these facilities would be subject to future random drug testing.

The other two bills in the package – S2492 and S2493 – would strengthen education and training requirements for employees; and require that all deaths and assaults at state hospitals be reported to state authorities. The latter, S2493, was recently signed into law. An identical version of bill S2492 was approved by the Assembly today.

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