TRENTON, NJ (STL.NewsGovernor Murphy signed legislation (A1176) which requires the Department of Health to license certain hospitals to provide full-service diagnostic cardiac catheterization, primary angioplasty, and elective angioplasty services.  This will expand access to these critical preventative measures and put them within reach of more New Jerseyans.

“All New Jerseyans deserve easy access to procedures that can prevent serious illness or death, no matter where they live,” said Governor Murphy.  “This law will allow for more hospitals to provide angioplasty services and ensure that those living in lesser populated areas of state are still able to take advantage of these preventative measures.”

A1176 addresses a longstanding lack of licensed angioplasty facilities in several counties in the state.  Under the legislation, hospitals that are not currently licensed surgery centers will be able to apply to the Department of Health to provide the following:

Full-service diagnostic cardiac catheterization services, provided the hospital thereafter performs at least 250 catheterizations per year, with each interventional cardiologist performing at least 50 catheterizations per year.  The hospital must also participate in the DOH’s data collection programs and in national registries to monitor quality, outcomes, and compliance with State regulations;
Primary (emergency/acute) angioplasty services, provided the hospital has been licensed to provide full-service adult diagnostic catheterization services under the bill for at least six months; and
Elective angioplasty services, provided the hospital is licensed to provide primary angioplasty services under the bill or was licensed to participate in the C-PORT-E clinical trial or the State Elective Angioplasty Demonstration Project, and, thereafter, performs a minimum of 200 elective angioplasty procedures per year, with each interventional cardiologist performing at least 50 elective angioplasty procedures per year.  The hospital must also ensure all prospective elective angioplasty patients undergo careful selection, screening, and risk stratification.
“Heart disease can be a very treatable illness when the right health measures are able to be taken by a patient in consultation with their medical professional,” said Assembly primary sponsors Andrew Zwicker, Roy Freiman, and Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, in a joint statement. “Angioplasty saves lives every day, but far too often they are performed only in emergencies.  Elective Angioplasty as a preventive measure can lessen symptoms, improve quality of life, and reduce mortality rates.  Ensuring more medical centers are licensed for full-service elective angioplasty and its linked care will increase access to safe and preventative healthcare measures for residents combatting heart disease.”

“Life-saving cardiac procedures have been modernized and made far safer over the last decade, so it is only fair and pragmatic for those seeking these critical surgeries to have every opportunity to access them with the greatest convenience possible,” said Senator Joseph Vitale, chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

“Right now there are only 29 hospitals in New Jersey licensed to provide elective angioplasty.  That may sound like a lot, but the problem is that most of those hospitals are clustered in only 14 counties,” said Senator Vin Gopal.  “This law is a way to give more opportunity to more residents who might seek out these services.”

“Eleven New Jersey hospitals without on-site cardiac surgery units are now authorized to provide elective angioplasty and continue to do so,” said Senator Paul Sarlo.  “This law will expand access to this procedure more widely, to more facilities, so that all those who seek to benefit from such surgeries and procedures are not hampered by logistical obstacles.”