Assembly Passes “Children’s Sudden Cardiac Events Reporting Act”

TRENTON– The Assembly passed legislation to monitor sudden cardiac events  in children in order to help prevent future tragedies. The bill received final legislative approval Thursday and now heads to the governor’s desk.

“Too many children have been taken from us far too soon because of sudden and undetected cardiac conditions,” said Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex), who was a sponsor of Janet’s Law, which was enacted last year to require all New Jersey schools to have automated external defibrillators. “By providing schools and communities throughout New Jersey with this information, we can help improve the survival rates of children who experience sudden cardiac events.”

The bill (A-3047/S-1911), named the “Children’s Sudden Cardiac Events Reporting Act,” would require the reporting of children’s sudden cardiac events and establish a statewide database as a repository for the information. Under the bill, “sudden cardiac event” is defined as a death or aborted death due to a cardiac arrhythmia resulting in loss of consciousness requiring cardiopulmonary resuscitation, defibrillation, or other advanced life support measures to regain normal heart function.

Specifically, the bill stipulates that:

  • A health care professional (a physician or registered professional nurse licensed in New Jersey) who makes the diagnosis of a sudden cardiac event in a child 12-19 years of age, or who makes the actual determination and pronouncement of death for a child, must report the sudden cardiac event to the state Department of Health (DOH).
  • Among the details required to be included in writing are the name and address of the health care professional submitting the report, the name, age, and address of the child, and other pertinent information as may be required by the commissioner. However, if the child’s parent or guardian objects to the reporting of the child’s condition for any reason, the report is not to include any information that could be used to identify the child.
  • The commissioner is to specify procedures for the health care professional to inform the child’s parent or guardian of the reporting requirements, as well as the parent’s or guardian’s right to refuse to permit the reporting of any information that could be used to identify the child.
  • The reports made pursuant to the bill are to be used only by DOH and other agencies as may be designated by the commissioner, and are not to otherwise be divulged or made public so as to disclose the identity of any person to whom they relate.
  • An 11-member Children’s Sudden Cardiac Events Review Board will be established in DOH to evaluate the information reported, and to study any other relevant data.

The bill would take effect on the first day of the seventh month after enactment, but authorizes the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services to take prior administrative action as necessary for implementation.

The bill was approved by a vote of 39-0 by the Senate in October.

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