New Jersey Passes Law Requiring Long-Term Care Outbreak Response Plans


New Jersey has passed a new law requiring some long-term care (LTC) facilities to submit outbreak response plans to the state's department of health (DOH).

The legislation was prompted in response to a 2018 adenovirus outbreak at an LTC facility for severely ill children in Haskell, N.J., that killed 11 patients.

As a press release from N.J. Governor Phil Murphy notes, the law — A5527 — requires certain LTC facilities to develop and submit an outbreak response plan to the N.J. DOH within 180 days after the bill's effective date. These plans should include protocols for isolating infected and at-risk patients in the case of an outbreak, policies for notification of family and staff and additional requirements for containing outbreaks.

The legislation also requires facilities like the one in Haskell that provide care for particularly vulnerable, ventilator-dependent residents to submit a more detailed response plan for review.

"Breaches in infection control practices are a major contributing factor in the spread of disease in healthcare facilities," said Acting Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, in the release. "Outbreak response plans help facilities remain aware of the need to contact and work with public health to implement practices to minimize further spread of disease."