This study includes the New Jersey Senate Bill that was introduced during the legislative session in the year of 2015. This Senate Bill is mainly related to the field of ‘Healthcare and nursing.’ The main focus of this bill is on the safety, protection, health services and welfare measure provided for the general public. This bill sanctions the healthcare practitioners and professionals to make sure the availability of healthcare services by utilizing telemedicine and is titled as Senate No. 2729 (S 2729) ( Senate, No. 2729. State of New Jersey. 216 Legislature). In addition to that, this bill possesses the identical number of A 4231.
The whole legislative process is considered as complicated one as it consists of some different steps and procedures that successively allows a bill to become law. Originally, any General Assembly member or Senator may present a brand new law and accredited as its official sponsor. However, it should be remembered that there are some significant players in the proposition and presentation of a new law which includes national groups, political parties, different interest groups, public representatives, the citizens as well as the Governor. The legislator, at the time, first instructs drafting of the bill. In addition to that, it is the right of legislator that he may invite other legislators to participate in the whole process as co-sponsors.
During the legislative process, the introduction session is completed when the General Assembly or Senate Secretary Clerk distributes the number of the bill along with its title and main sponsor. The next step after the introduction of the bill is to forward to the committee named as ‘amendments.’ This committee is responsible for all the possible improvements and modifications in the bill. The amendments committee also arranges meetings involving public discussion for the sake of evaluating the significance of the bill. If the committee of amendments approves the bill, then it is successively forwarded to the House for the second reading or further (advanced) edition.
After the step of advanced editing or modification, the bill is forwarded to the next step where the General Assembly Speaker or Senate President arranges a proper schedule for the bill. During this step, the concerned official reads the bills for the third time. It is scheduled and arranged with the main underlying purpose of voting and debates for any possible improvement. If the bill becomes successful in receiving the majority of the votes, it is labeled as ‘passed.’ If we sum the whole procedure up, the new bill must go through a series of steps before its final approval which involves first reading, consideration of amendments committee, the second step of reading, third reading followed by the final assessment in the second House.
When the bill receives the approval of both Houses, it is forwarded for the signature of the Governor. However, it must be remembered that Governor possesses the authority of rejecting the new bill. In such cases, the rejected new bill is termed as ‘veto’ (Libby, 2011). The main important thing is the approval of the new bill by both Houses followed by Governor Signature that eventually makes the little differences between the assembly and Senate versions of the new bill less noteworthy. One of the differences includes the fact that in the Senate, the bill is presented by the Senator also is the sponsor of the bill, and on the other hand, assemblypersons present the new bill in the Assembly for the sake of consideration and approval.
This difference is also described as, “Every Assembly member is permitted the introduction of 30 bills in two years, and each Senator is permitted the introduction of 45 bills in the same period. However, there are multiple possible ways of managing this limitation” (Libby, 2011, p. 70). The important point to remember is that the contents of senate and assembly bills are same, but they differ in their quantities (Libby, 2011). The next most important and significant thing to discuss is the rationale for the choice of the specific bill. Without proper and considerable reasoning, it seems entirely useless and pointless to go through the whole process of legislation.
The Senate bill No 2729 of the year 2015, under discussion, comprises a very discrete and significant rationale. This Senate bill plays a substantial role in the overall service and functioning of the healthcare profession. This bill makes sure the statutory authority for a large number of healthcare professionals holding the responsibility and concern of delivering the healthcare services to the patients by utilizing the telemedicine as well as ensuring the good quality of the provided services.
The healthcare professionals and practitioners include physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, neurologists, cardiologists, nephrologists, radiologists, pathologists, urologists, nurses and licensed clinical professionals and other medical staff workers. According to the bill under discussion, “this particular sanction would also involve mental health screeners, who, according to the bill, would be permitted to involve in the screening procedures of mental health by utilizing telemedicine without the necessitation of a waiver from already existing rules” (Legislative Fiscal Estimate Senate, No. 2729).
If we talk in general, this particular bill supports the practice and provision of healthcare services on a remote basis. It does this by establishing a bona fide and honest relationship between the patients and healthcare providers. This fact successively makes this legislation important enough to positively impact the general public by working for their protection, health improvement, and welfare. To clear the whole concept, one should be familiar with the concept of telemedicine. The telemedicine refers to “the delivery or providence of any healthcare service by utilization of electronic media and communication services, information technology or any other technological or electronic means.
The telemedicine operates to fill in the difference or gap between the patient located at a distant place and healthcare provider located at another distant place. In this way, a healthcare provider located at one site and patient located at another remote side can communicate with or with the help of an intervening healthcare provider (HCP) (Legislative Fiscal Estimate Senate, No. 2729). There are multiple and variety of benefits of utilization of telemedicine.
Some of these benefits include the modified level of efficacy in providence of proper diagnosis and treatment options, improved access to healthcare related information, higher and improved degree of productivity and delivery of availabilities, modified level of professional education and information, effective position of marketing, improved quality control and maintenance of screening processes as well as marked reduction in cost of healthcare assistance (Hjelm, 2005). All of these benefits improve the whole healthcare domain’s efficacy available in remote areas as well as increases the trust in the healthcare provider and patient relation.
In addition to that, the relation between the healthcare provider or practitioner and the patients is improved by the use of different technologies of telecommunication including the use of store-and-forward technology, video conferencing, telling it on the phone and many others. The use of the telecommunication services makes the user feel and perceive that they can reach out to the other person even if they are capable of communicating with each other physically. By using these ways and methods, patients presenting with the immediate complications in the remote areas do not lose their lives or remain at risk as they can save themselves through telecommunication and telemedicine.
That is why this bill has gained wide acceptance as well as received high-level discussion by the majority of healthcare providers and professionals. By the implication of this bill and the use of telecommunication and telemedicine, not only the relation between different healthcare professionals and patients is improved but it also imposes a huge effect on the quality management and control of the healthcare services. The implication of this particular bill and use of telemedicine ensures the modified quality management and control of public health services.
Moreover, it also imposes a positive effect on the cost efficiency of the delivery and providence of health services. It becomes easier, less costly and more effective for a patient sitting in a remote area to communicate with a healthcare practitioner located at the other point. Every good healthcare practitioner considers this one of the foremost duty and responsibility to use new and advance technological innovations that are easy to reach and more affordable for the general public. This fact must be considered that it is one of the first duties of any healthcare provider (HCP) to use as much new options and methods as possible to ensure the availability of quality health services to the patients in need.
If we focus on the other side of this bill or legislation that includes its possible limitations, then they are highly insignificant or very less important. It is because this legislation holds the main benefit of improving the quality and trust of healthcare provider and patient relationship. The same fact makes the limitations to this legislation very less important or worth mentioning. The main underlying reason and goal of development of this legislation is the fact that quality of healthcare services has to be improved and the difficulties that healthcare professionals have to face because of unavailability of telemedicine network and services must be overcome.
However, like everything, this bill also holds some limitations. One of those limitations includes the fact of misuse of telecommunication service. This includes, “a loss of connection or alliance between different healthcare practitioners and issues or problems related to organization and quality of healthcare services information as well as bureaucratic problems” (Hjelm, 2005, p. 60). However, these disadvantages are more of a risk than a proper negative point. The advantages and benefits of this bill are overall significant, potent and pretty evident.
In addition to that, the bill does not provide any restriction that could impose a negative effect on the providence of healthcare services. Considering the importance of this bill, the process of delivery of healthcare services should be properly licensed. The financial statement copy is also attached to the real bill statement. The financial impact statement holds importance because the telecommunication and telemedicine services require proper financial resources for the supply and providence of healthcare services and equipment.
Furthermore, in my view, this bill holds great importance regarding the efficiency of the whole healthcare system, organization, management and supply of its services to the general public. It is because this bill is mainly aimed at the providence of health services to the general public by remotely located healthcare providers by the use of telecommunication methods. The problem of not being able to provide the healthcare services to the people living in rural and distant areas from well-developed cities has remained a major limitation regarding the effectiveness of healthcare management system and quality assurance.
The implication of this bill brings a great hope of improving the quality and service of the healthcare system by filling in the distance and gap between health professionals and the general public. The use of telemedicine is now highly increased because of its obvious benefits and positive outcomes. It is now has become one of the easiest solutions to problems of unreachable distances and produced complications.
Moreover, there is an important and significant aspect that should be discussed that how the stakeholders can view the legislation processes. For example, two important stakeholders including the New Jersey Nurses Association and School Nurses Association are significant in the case, who are also responsible for protecting the legislation process and helping to assist in the implementation process of the bill. The bill is available to develop the work of stakeholders and consumers to all levels. Due to the effective communication with stakeholders, it is estimated that telemedicine is significant and have a high value in the area of healthcare. The stakeholders who were interviewed in this regard presented the idea that bill should be implemented in different types of telemedicine network pattern to promote the affectivity of national health and healthcare system. Research studies suggested that the telemedicine education is a vast and important area that will increase its worth with time and spread in the education system. Moreover, studies suggested that it could be possible that the telemarketing will be a part of teaching curriculum, and the professionals of the healthcare system will develop their knowledge in this regard with the highest quality (Hjelm, 2005, p. 66).
The last and most significant factor is that how this legislation will positively or negatively impact the nurses and its field area. The nurses will have the impact of the legislation because they are a worthy part of the healthcare system. The nurses are the ones who provided their services to the doctors as well as to the patients. Telenursing is the term that is used to define the relationship between nursing area and telemedicine. Nurses will need now to be able to improve their work system by using this technology and will develop their communicative measures so that they could be able to deal with the patients in the best manner. According to the studies nurses are a significant element of the healthcare system and will help to promote the measures of telemedicine including its planning, implementation, and management process (Ganapathy & Ravindra, 2011, p. 48).
Ganapathy, K. & Ravindra, A. (2011). “Telenursing in an Emerging Economy: an Overview,” in Telenursing, edited by Sajeesh Kumar, Helen Snooks. Springer Science & Business Media.
Hjelm, N. M. (2005). “Benefits and Drawbacks of Telemedicine,” Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 11(2): 60-70.
Legislative Fiscal Estimate Senate, No. 2729. State of New Jersey, 216 Legislature. Retrieved from: ftp://www.njleg.state.nj.us/20142015/S3000/2729_E1.HTM>
Libby, P. (2011). The Lobbying Strategy Handbook: 10 Steps to Advancing Any Cause Effectively. SAGE Publications.