Stack, Jimenez, Mejia Bill Requiring Minimum Direct Care Staff to Patient Ratios in Long-Term Care Facilities Now Law

As New Jersey’s coronavirus numbers spike to their highest levels since summer, Governor Phil Murphy on Friday signed four COVID-related pieces of legislation into law.  One of the bills, S-2712, is sponsored by Hudson County legislators, Senator Brian Stack and Assembly persons Angelica Jimenez and Pedro Mejia.

The bill would directly impact the care staff to patient ratio at long-term care facilities across the Garden State.  Nearly half of New Jersey’s deaths related to the coronavirus, 7,203 as of today, have involved patients and staff at long-term care facilities.

Specifically, S-2712 puts into use the recommendations of the Manatt Health Report, which was released in early June.  It requires a minimum, direct care staff-to-resident ratio at long-term care facilities.  In addition, to address staffing problems, it establishes the “Special Task Force On Direct Care Workforce Retention and Recruitment.”

New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli stated, “Staff caring for our most vulnerable residents in long-term care settings are the backbone of these facilities.”

The legislation requires:

  • One certified nursing assistant to every eight residents on the day shift.
  • One direct care staff member (RN, LPN, or CNA) to every 10 residents during the evening shift.
  • One direct care staff member (RN, LPN, or CNA) to every 14 residents during the night shift.

Senator Stack points out that New Jersey scored an “F” rating and was ranked 43rd out of 50 states in direct care staffing hours per nursing home resident, stating, “These gaping problems have become even more apparent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  This is unacceptable and we all know we can do better.  These are our parents and grandparents and soon, they will be us.  This law will ensure that every resident in our nursing homes receives the care and attention we all deserve.”