Testa Urges Health Committee to Act on Legislation to Prevent New Restrictions on Elective Surgeries

Testa Urges Health Committee to Act on Legislation to Prevent New Restrictions on Elective Surgeries

Senator Michael Testa urged the Senate Health Committee to take action on legislation that would prevent Governor Phil Murphy from ordering new restrictions on elective surgeries and invasive procedures during the current public health emergency.

“We can’t have a repeat of this spring when Governor Murphy prohibited New Jerseyans from receiving many important medical and dental procedures and surgeries for two months,” said Testa (R-1). “Many providers still haven’t caught up on the backlog that resulted from that unnecessary delay, and some patients continue to suffer in pain while their conditions deteriorate. We have a bill that’s ready to be heard in the Senate Health Committee that would prevent this from happening again. It’s imperative that the Legislature act before it’s too late.

Testa joined with Senator Vin Gopal (D-11) to introduce bipartisan legislation in May that explicitly authorizes health care practitioners to perform elective surgeries and invasive procedure during the COVID-19 crisis, notwithstanding any executive orders or administrative rules to the contrary.

The legislation, S-2495, initially was introduced in response to Executive Order No. 109, which suspended all elective surgeries and invasive procedures from March 27th until May 26th.

When Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 145, which allowed those surgeries and procedures to resume, he noted that his order had covered “a broad range of procedures that in some cases are quite serious.”

“Even the governor has recognized that an ‘elective’ surgery like hip or knee replacement can be critically important to a patient’s health and well-being,” added Testa. “Invasive procedures, including biopsies, help doctors to diagnose dangerous cancers that can be life threatening if not treated quickly. In many cases, the risk of delaying those procedures and surgeries is significantly greater to a patient than whatever risk might be posed by COVID-19.”

Testa also sponsors legislation, S-2482, that would limit the effective period of emergency executive orders to 14 days unless the Legislature approves an extension. The Democratic majority has blocked efforts to move that bill forward.

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