NJ-ACEP continues to represent the interests of emergency medicine and work with other specialist societies through the Access to Care Coalition and actively oppose the Out of Network Legislation (S-1285), sponsored by Senator Vitale. Trenton is in the middle of a fierce Budget battle with a July 1 deadline and the Out of Network legislation has become tangled in this year's budget and other politically charged issues, once again, including Governor Christie and Senator Vitale's proposal to take $300 Million in Horizon's surplus for opioid addiction treatment (among other reforms for transparency within Horizon's organizational structure).
We learned late Friday night that S-1285, the OON Transparency/Disclosure/Arbitration legislation, would be added to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for Monday without public notice and NJACEP leadership reached out to members of the Committee over the weekend, as did NJ-ACEP's lobbyist and the Coalition in advance of the hearing. S-3299, the OON Transparency/ Disclosure-only legislation sponsored by Senators Sarlo (D) and Oroho (R) and supported by NJ-ACEP and the Coalition was also scheduled for the same hearing on Monday. Putting both these bills on the committee agenda at the same time was a compromise by the sponsors and Senate leadership. S-3299 addresses transparency and disclosure without setting prices or dispute resolution.
S-3299 was unanimously approved by the Committee Monday with support from the Coalition, individual specialty societies, and NJHA. And, although 5 Republicans and Chairman Sarlo (D) abstained on the vote for S-1285, the balance of the democrats, some expressing reservations, supported S-1285 and it was approved by the Committee. NJHA and the physician community all opposed S-1285. NJHA had previously supported this measure and their Board last week withdrew its support.