Gov. signs Muñoz bills ensuring better delivery of healthcare

TRENTON, N.J. – Three bills sponsored by Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz improving healthcare for New Jersey residents have been signed by Gov. Chris Christie.

The first bill (S2058/A671) adds two nurse educators to the state Board of Nursing, which licenses and regulates the nursing profession. The nurses must be RNs, have a least five years’ nursing experience and have taught registered nurses.

“As the delivery of healthcare continues to change, the way nursing students are educated needs to evolve as well,” said Muñoz (R-Union). “We must constantly rethink teaching methods to better prepare today’s nursing students for the increasing complexity of health care demands. Giving nurse educators a voice on the board will help us provide students with a thorough and comprehensive nursing education.”

The second measure (S2331/A3962) creates a tuition reimbursement program for psychiatrists who work in underserved areas of the state.

“The lack of access to psychiatric care in New Jersey is an alarming problem that has been going on for years and is growing worse. There aren’t enough psychiatrists to meet the demand for their services and, for individuals fortunate to get an appointment, the wait times can be one to two months or longer. That isn’t acceptable,” Muñoz said. “This measure won’t solve the crisis, but it’s a good starting point. Providing tuition reimbursement will allow us to begin to create an environment where behavioral health care providers will want to practice in our state.

New Jersey provides tuition reimbursement programs for primary care physicians and dentists to promote access to primary care services in medically underserved areas. It also administers the nursing faculty loan redemption program that was established to address the current and projected critical shortage of nurse faculty.

The third bill (S1295/A3701) ensures more stringent regulation of licensed respiratory care professionals who perform a variety of therapies and diagnostic tests to aid physicians in determining proper treatment for cardio-respiratory conditions.