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Update Re: State to License One Room ORs

January 18, 2012 | No Comments
Posted by Sharlene Hunt

As we reported the other day, last week the New Jersey legislature adopted a bill that would require licensure by the Department of Health and Senior Services of “surgical practices” or single operating rooms within physician private practices.  Yesterday, Governor Christie “pocket vetoed” the bill.  The ability to “pocket veto” a bill arises out of special rules that apply to bills passed by the Legislature in the last ten days of the two year Legislative session.  Ordinarily, if the governor does not sign a bill or actively veto it, it becomes law.  Under normal circumstances, if the governor vetoes a bill, it goes back to the Legislature, which may override the veto if there are sufficient votes.  Under the special rules that apply to a bill passed in the last ten days of the two year Legislative session, the bill must be signed by the governor within seven days of the expiration of the Legislative session in order to become law.  By not signing a bill passed in the last ten days of the session within the seven day timeframe, the governor in effect “pockets” the bill, resulting in a “pocket veto”.  Since a new Legislative session will commence following such a pocket veto, the bill cannot go back to the Legislature for an override vote, but must be re-introduced in the new Legislative session in order to move forward again.

The other bill we previously reported on, the bill that would phase out the cosmetic surgery tax, was signed by Governor Christie, and thus will go into effect.

In related news, in yesterday’s New Jersey Register, the Department of Health and Senior Services published final rules governing the registration of surgical practices.  The final rules are substantially unchanged from the earlier proposal, however the Department indicated in its responses to comments that it will issue further regulatory changes in the future in order to clarify a couple of issues raised by the rules as adopted.  In the same issue of the Register, the Department published final rules governing the obligation of ambulatory surgery centers to report healthcare associated infections under the same rules that apply to hospitals in the State.  These latter rules do not apply to surgical practices.

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