VITALE BILL TO PROTECT PATIENTS AND RESIDENTS OF HEALTH CARE FACILITIES FROM FUTURE POWER OUTAGES APPROVED BY SENATE

Senator Vitale with Advocates at Bill Signing

Legislation Would Provide Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Communities, Other Health Care Facilities With Low Interest Loans to Become Generator Ready

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Joseph F. Vitale that would ensure, in the event of future natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy, patients and residents of certain health care facilities would not be put at risk due to loss of power was approved today by the full Senate.

“In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy more than 250 health care facilities lost power, some for more than a week, leaving vital equipment inoperable, food and medicine to spoil and loss of lights and ventilation,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex. “Those responsible for the care of our sick, elderly and disabled must prepare for the next disaster so that their patients are protected. By offering low-interest loans through the EDA, we can help assist them with this investment in their facility.”

The bill, S-854, would require certain health care facilities to be either equipped with a generator or be generator-ready within three years. The bill would also require the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) to provide low-interest loans to eligible facilities to purchase and install generators or become generator ready. These loans could not exceed a two percent interest rate.

Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, comprehensive personal care homes, pediatric community transitional homes, federally-qualified health centers, dialysis centers, hospice in-patient cares, and residential health care centers connected to another licensed facility would all fall under the bill.  The generators or generator connections must be able to support critical life support equipment and refrigeration for medications, as well as lighting for exits and communications, fire and safety alarms, equipment for communications, sump or sewerage pumps and elevator service if needed to relocate or evacuate residents.

The bill was approved by the Senate with a vote of 38-1. It now heads to the General Assembly for further consideration. 

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