New Jersey may require hospitals to publicly report COVID-19 outbreaks among staff

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Amid COVID-19 surges across the U.S., New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signaled his support for requiring hospitals to report outbreaks among their workers, NorthJersey.com reported.

Hospitals in New Jersey up to this point in the pandemic have not had such a requirement.

"We want to see transparency, and so I want those [positive cases among hospital workers] to be on our dashboards and I want the healthcare providers, the hospital systems to be very clear and upfront about what's going on in their hospitals," the governor said, according to news station WPIX.

According to NorthJersey.com, Mr. Murphy said his office is considering executive action on the matter.

Mr. Murphy made the comments Dec. 4 after multiple hospitals in the state reported outbreaks. Palisades Medical Center, a 202-bed hospital in North Bergen, N.J., temporarily diverted ambulances to other facilities after a COVID-19 outbreak among staff. Ocean Medical Center in Brick, N.J., also experienced a COVID-19 outbreak that sidelined more than 100 employees.

There is state legislation that "calls for a transparent reporting process for hospital workers infected with the COVID-19 virus," according to NorthJersey.com. However, it remains stalled in the Assembly.

The New Jersey Hospital Association supports the legislation.

"As COVID-19 activity surges once again in New Jersey, one of our top priorities is ensuring that we have enough staff at the bedside caring for patients," Cathy Bennett, the association's president and CEO, said in a statement shared with Becker's. "We've been discussing this concern with legislators and have added our support to Assembly Bill-4129, sponsored by Assemblyman Bill Spearman, which calls for a transparent reporting process for hospital workers infected with the COVID-19 virus. We will continue to support transparent efforts to ensure that the residents of this state feel confident seeking medically necessary care at our facilities."

The Health Professionals and Allied Employees union, which has more than 13,000 members, also supports requiring hospitals to report positive cases to the state. 

 

More articles on workforce:
How Providence will bring remote employees back to the office post-COVID
Health systems eye staggered schedule and end-of-week COVID-19 shots to mitigate workforce shortages
576 Henry Ford Health System workers sidelined due to COVID-19

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