Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz has said that her backing of a May patient transport bill was influenced by the death of her husband, Assemblyman Eric Muñoz, who tragically passed after suffering a heart ailment in 2009. She said her husband didn't have access to the specialty care unit he needed.
The following is a press release from the Assembly Republican Press Office regarding the bill, when it passed in May.
Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz that would ensure the immediate dispatch and timely transport of critically ill patients between health care facilities by specialty care transportation units (SCTU) was approved by the General Assembly in May.
SCTUs transport critically ill and compromised patients between health care facilities (such as hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers) when patient needs exceed a level of care currently available to them. SCTUs, which are licensed by the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), are equipped with advanced life support equipment, including medications, cardiac monitoring devices and ventilators, and are staffed with highly skilled health care professionals.
“When a critically ill patient needs to be transferred to a specialty care facility that is better equipped to handle the patients’ condition, every minute is crucial,” explained Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset. “These patients require specialized medical intervention or monitoring that is beyond the capabilities of a basic life support ambulance and its crew. Time wasted in dispatch and transport can mean the difference between life and death. This protocol is necessary to ensure that every patient in need is transported in as timely and efficient manner as possible.”
Muñoz’ measure, A-792, would:
- ensure immediate dispatch, and timely patient pick-up from the sending hospital, and transport to the receiving hospital by an SCTU used for patient inter-facility transfers;
- establish contingency SCTU transport protocols in the event that a hospital’s SCTU is not immediately available for dispatch. A hospital that fails to comply shall be penalized.
Currently, there are 48 SCTU providers licensed by DHSS. The bill now heads to the Senate for a committee hearing.
Munoz represents the 21st NJ legislative district. Municipalities in the district are Berkeley Heights Township, Chatham Township, Cranford Township, Garwood Borough, Harding Township, Long Hill Township, Madison Borough, Millburn Township, Mountainside Borough, New Providence Borough, Roselle Park Borough, Springfield Township, Summit City, Warren Township, Watchung Borough, Westfield Town.