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  • NJ A2648
  • Requires DHS to establish training, educational assessment, and remedial instruction programs, and minimum educational standards for staff at State psychiatric hospitals.
Introduced
(2/8/2016)
In Committee
(2/8/2016)
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill requires the Department of Human Services (DHS) to establish a training program for staff members at a State psychiatric hospital who work directly with patients in order to ensure the delivery of safe, secure, and therapeutic care at the hospital. Under the provisions of the bill, the Commissioner of Human Services is required to review the training program annually and modify it if needed, and is responsible for ensuring that all staff members at a hospital receive this training, as well as annual refresher training. As defined in the bill, "State psychiatric hospital" means a psychiatric hospital listed in R.S.30:1-7. The training program shall: ● include a curriculum based on evidence-based treatment practices that emphasize the principles of wellness and recovery; ● utilize a curriculum that provides exposure to the best practices in patient care through didactic and experiential learning, including, but not limited to, such topics as State and federal reporting requirements; the provision of services to patients that promote safety, disease prevention, and health wellness activities; anger management; and instruction on skilled decision-making and how to deal effectively with life-threatening emergencies; ● require that all staff members employed at a hospital on the effective date of the bill successfully complete the training within one month of the effective date of the bill; and ● require an applicable staff member hired after the effective date of the bill to successfully complete the training within six months after the start of employment. The bill provides that if a staff member or applicant for employment at a State psychiatric hospital refuses to participate in the training program, the staff member or applicant shall be terminated or permanently disqualified from employment at the facility. The bill also stipulates that the commissioner establish minimum educational standards for staff members at a hospital who work or will work directly with patients after the effective date of the bill, including, but not limited to: ● a high school diploma or certificate of high school equivalency; and ● proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking English. Applicants for employment at the hospital who will work directly with patients are required to meet the standards as a prerequisite to being hired at the hospital. A staff member at a State psychiatric hospital who works directly with patients on the effective date of the bill is required to: ● undergo an educational assessment in order to determine if the staff member meets the standards, and if the staff member does not meet the standards, remedial instruction shall be provided under the educational assessment and remedial instruction program established by DHS; and ● meet the standards or successfully complete the remedial instruction, as applicable, within one year of the effective date of bill, as a condition of continued employment at the hospital. A staff member who refuses to participate in the educational assessment or fails to successfully complete the remedial instruction shall be terminated from employment at the hospital. The bill requires DHS, in collaboration with the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development, to establish an on-site educational assessment and remedial instruction program at each State psychiatric hospital. The purpose of the program is to evaluate the proficiency of all staff members at a State psychiatric hospital who work directly with patients and provide remedial instruction, if necessary, in order to ensure that staff members at the hospital meet the educational standards established pursuant to the bill. The program shall include: ● an assessment designed to measure the proficiency of an applicable staff member at a State psychiatric hospital in reading comprehension, writing skills, and spoken English to determine whether the staff member meets the standards; and ● a curriculum for remedial instruction that provides lessons in reading comprehension, writing skills, and spoken English that will enable an applicable staff member to demonstrate that the staff member meets the standards. If the educational assessment reveals that an applicable staff member does not meet the standards, remedial instruction shall be provided to the staff member in order for the staff member to meet the educational standards necessary for continued employment at the hospital. The bill also mandates that the Commissioner of Human Services conduct a study, in consultation with the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development, to determine how to best enhance the professionalism of staff members at a State psychiatric hospital who work directly with patients, which shall include, but need not be limited to, an evaluation of the feasibility and benefits of: ● establishing opportunities for occupationally relevant learning and long-range career advancement for applicable staff members by developing a supervisory/management training program modeled on DHS' Career Ladders program; and ● requiring professional licensure, certification or other professional accreditation for applicable staff members, supervisors, and management staff. Finally, the bill requires that the commissioner report to the Governor and the Legislature no later than one year after the effective date of the bill, on the implementation and status of the training, educational assessment, and remedial instruction programs, and establishment of the educational standards for staff members at a State psychiatric hospital. The report shall also include the results of the study conducted to determine how to enhance the professionalism of staff members at a State psychiatric hospital.
Human Services
Introduced, Referred to Assembly Human Services Committee  (on 2/8/2016)
 
 

Date Chamber Action Description
2/8/2016 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Human Services Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
None specified