By Cristina N. Hyde, JD
Last week, Senate Bill No. 760 was unanimously approved by the Senate Commerce Committee. If enacted, the bill would expand the scope of the New Jersey Health Care Consumer Information Act (the Act) to include all licensed health care professionals as defined by the New Jersey Health Care Professional Responsibility and Reporting Enhancement Act. Therefore, the bill would broaden the mandate to require the maintenance of publicly available practitioner profiles on not only physicians, podiatrists, and optometrists, but also dentists, pharmacists, chiropractors, physical therapists, psychologists, family therapists, nurses and personal care assistants, among others.
Traditionally, practitioner profiles have included information about practitioners’ credentials and education and also about disciplinary actions, hospital restrictions and malpractice payments. However, the bill would also augment the information collected for a profile to include restrictions placed on health care professionals in New Jersey-based or out-of-state facilities, any Medicare or Medicaid exclusions, any actions taken by federal regulators, and any other information pursuant to regulation from the Division of Consumer Affairs who maintain the database of professional profiles.
Information for the database is taken from a number of sources including prominent medical associations. Practices are also required to verify the accuracy of information, supply missing information and are invited to provide optional information such as teaching appointments, specialty board certifications, and hospitals at which privileges are held.
Of course, Senate Bill No. 760 has only begun the journey to becoming a law; the next step being a vote of the entire Senate. However, if you have any questions or concerns about your credentials and what the maintenance of a public professional profile means for you and your practice, Contact Us.