Date: March 30, 2020Attorney: Mohamed H. Nabulsi

March 30, 2020
By Mohamed H. Nabulsi

Continuing the series of broad executive actions NJ Gov. Murphy has taken to combat the accelerating COVID-19 pandemic, late Saturday, the Governor issued Executive Order No. 111 (“Order”) to address deficiencies in the State’s information regarding the number and nature of the personal protective equipment (“PPE”), ventilators, respirators, and anesthesia machines (the “Needed Resources”) available within New Jersey.

The Order mandates that, beginning yesterday at 10:00 AM, certain health care facilities shall report data concerning their “capacity and supplies” on a daily basis to the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management. Health care facilities expressly subject to this Order include: licensed acute care hospitals, long-term care facilities, hospital systems, including specialty hospitals, and all emergency modular field treatment and other facilities established during the COVID-19 emergency.  The Order empowers the NJ Office of Emergency Management (“OEM”), working with the Commissioner of the Department of Health (“DOH”), to specify the nature of the information to be reported under the Order, including: bed capacity, ventilators, and personal protective equipment.

The Order authorizes the NJ Office of Emergency Management, in consultation with the Commissioner of the Department of Health, to make additions, amendments, clarifications, exclusions, and exceptions to the list of health care facilities subject to the Order’s new reporting requirements.  Notably, the Order, citing to existing law, contemplates the potential addition of the following entities, among others, to the list of healthcare facilities subject to the Order’s new reporting requirements: a general hospital, special hospital, mental hospital, public health center, diagnostic center, treatment center, rehabilitation center, extended care facility, skilled nursing home, nursing home, intermediate care facility, tuberculosis hospital, chronic disease hospital, maternity hospital, outpatient clinic (this would presumably include Ambulatory Care Facilities), dispensary, home health care agency, residential health care facility, dementia care home, and most bioanalytical laboratories.

Under the Order, the OEM must establish a process by which designated healthcare facilities can submit the required information on a daily basis.  At the time of posting, the OEM has not yet established such a process, but, given the apparently grave lack of Needed Resources within the State, we expect that guidance will be issued very soon.

Finally, it should be noted that the Order’s preambulatory language contemplates that the information the Order is causing to be gathered will be used by the State to make determinations whether or when to “deploy” the Needed Resources “where they are most needed.”  As such, we can reasonably expect, if the crisis continues unabated and State’s critical need for the Needed Resources is not otherwise satisfied, that the Governor will take further executive action to effectuate this language.

We will keep you updated of any further developments. Please contact us with any questions.