New Bill Passes NJ Legislature Which Will Greatly Assist Hatzolah In Saving Lives

Photo by Shimon Gifter

The New Jersey General Assembly and Senate have unanimously passed legislation to bring vital reforms to New Jersey’s paramedic programs. Assembly Bill A-6132, sponsored by Assemblyman Schaer, Assemblyman Greenwald, Assemblyman Conaway, Senator Gopal, and Senator Singer permits volunteer paramedics to operate within mobile intensive care units.

Hatzalah units have spent decades administering Basic Life Support services to municipalities throughout New Jersey. The dedication of Hatzalah’s first responders has made the organization a foundational component of the healthcare system within the Jewish community. Hatzalah’s understanding of religious and cultural customs has allowed it to effectively meet the medical needs of local Jewish communities. By organizing local chapters around a community-based model, Hatzalah has shortened emergency response times compared to mobile intensive care units that service larger geographic areas. As Hatzalah has spread into municipalities across New Jersey, other communities have benefited from Hatzalah’s unique structure.

Assembly Bill A-6132 integrates volunteer paramedics, who have been certified by the Commissioner of Health, within mobile intensive care units. Currently, Hatzalah first responders are unable to provide Advanced Life Support during their emergency response, despite undergoing the same rigorous training as paid paramedics. As a sub-unit of a hospital MICU, Hatzalah will be able to fully utilize their training, performing needed ALS services. This momentous change will expand their life-saving capabilities.

A crucial component of this legislation is providing accommodations that support Hatzalah’s successful community-based model. By allowing Hatzalah to respond using personal vehicles and in non-uniformed attire, we remove obstacles that would slow their responsiveness. Improving the quality of care for every New Jerseyan.

“My colleagues in the New Jersey Legislature unanimously passed these reforms to bring critical support to our overburdened healthcare system. Paramedic staffing shortages lower the quality of care and place residents at increased risk during a health emergency. Hatzalah has brought vital BLS services to municipalities across the State, and through our legislation they will have the opportunity to work within MICU’s to expand their life-saving capabilities. Through this bill, we have taken a necessary step towards providing comprehensive healthcare improvements and guaranteeing every resident will benefit from expanded paramedic services,: said Schaer (D-Bergen, Passaic).

The bill now heads to the desk of NJ Governor Phil Murphy who is expected to sign it into law.

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