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Senate Passes Lagana, Gopal Bill to Require Hospitals to Provide Women with Information on Breast Reconstructive Surgery

Trenton– Legislation sponsored by Senator Joseph Lagana and Senator Vin Gopal, which would require hospitals to provide breast cancer patients with information concerning reconstructive surgery, passes the Senate today.

“Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in New Jersey. It is essential that we make sure people have the highest quality care options for treatment and, if necessary, for reconstruction,” said Senator Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Our legislation would ensure that treating physicians are not restricted in any way from helping their patients get individualized care based solely on the clinical and personal needs of that patient.”

“The focus of this bill is on the well-being of the patient,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “Patients should be able to be referred to plastic surgeons who most adequately meet their care needs regardless of the surgeon’s network affiliation.”

The bill, S-3202, requires hospitals to provide breast cancer patients with information concerning reconstructive surgery. The bill also prohibits carriers from preventing the referral of a covered person to an out-of-network surgeon who provides the full scope of breast cancer reconstructive services necessary and appropriate to the patients’ treatment needs.

The information would be provided to the patient in writing and prior to the surgical procedure. The information would include the patient’s right to seek a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon of the patient’s choice. This is a description of State and federal laws that require carriers to provide coverage for reconstructive surgery, and the patient’s right to obtain reconstructive surgery from a board-certified plastic surgeon regardless of whether the plastic surgeon is affiliated with the general hospital or health care provider.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 39-0.