TRENTON, N.J. – Since the start of the pandemic, almost half the Covid-19-related deaths have been connected to nursing homes with about 25,000 residents and 13,000 staffers contracting the disease. Sadly, this resulted in nearly 6,800 deaths. Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce wants to make sure this never happens again and has proposed a bill that would ensure hospitals and nursing homes are ready for the next pandemic.
DeCroce’s bill (A4282) would require health care systems with eight or more facilities to have a 30-day stockpile of personal protection equipment, better known as PPE. Those with fewer than eight facilities would be required to have a 60-day stockpile.
“We all worry about our friends and family working in the medical field and relatives living in nursing homes during this pandemic,” stated DeCroce (R-Morris). “We need to protect New Jerseysans and by ensuring hospitals and nursing homes have enough gloves, masks, and disinfectant is the first step in this process.”
The bill would also require facilities to evaluate their current stockpile during a public health emergency and, if necessary, acquire more to meet the increase in demand.
“We have lost so many people living in nursing homes and people working on the front line taking care of those with Covid-19,” stated DeCroce. “We cannot allow this suffering to continue. We must protect those who cannot protect themselves and those who sacrifice their safety to make sure we are healthy.”
The General Assembly voted 79-0.