January 1, 2008

New Jersey state laws and regulations that affect your medical practice

1. Is there a requirement that communicable diseases be reported?

Yes. Certain communicable diseases must be reported by physicians, such as botulism, diphtheria, measles, mumps, and rabies. (See Appendix A-2 for a complete list of which diseases are to be reported. See also "AIDS and HIV.")

2. What is the method of reporting?

Any outbreak or suspected outbreak listed in N.J.A.C. 8:57-1.3 shall be reported to the health officer of the jurisdiction where the outbreak occurred. If the health officer is unavailable, the report shall be made to DHSS by telephone.

Report shall include:

A. The name of the disease;

B. The name, age, date of birth, gender, race, ethnicity, home address and telephone number of the person who is ill or infected with such disease;

C. The date of onset of illness;

D. The name, address, institution, and telephone number of the reporting official; and

E. Such other information as may be required by the Department concerning a specific disease.

Outbreak reports shall include:

A. The name, municipality and telephone number of the institution or school where the outbreak occurred;

B. The name of the disease or suspected disease;

C. The number ill;

D. The dates of onset;

E. A description of symptoms;

F. Pertinent medical history and available diagnostic confirmation; and

G. Such other information as may be requested by the health officer or the Department concerning a specific disease.

3. What are the consequences of failing to report?

Physicians who fail to report will initially receive written notification of this failure to report. Physicians who continue to fail to report, despite warnings, shall be subject to a fine. Those whose failure to report is determined by the DHSS to have significantly hindered public health control measures, shall be subject to other actions, including notification of the SBME, and appropriate hospital medical directors or administrators.

4. What are the occupational and environmental diseases that must be reported?

The following diseases or injuries must be reported, within 30 days after such condition has been diagnosed or treated, report such condition to the DHSS:

A. Asbestosis;

B. Silicosis;

C. Pneumoconiosis, other and unspecified;

D. Occupational asthma;

E. Extrinsic Allergic Alveolitis;

F. Lead toxicity, adult (defined as blood lead >= 25 micrograms per deciliter; urine lead >= 80 micrograms per liter);

G. Arsenic toxicity, adult (defined as blood arsenic >= .07 micrograms per milliliter; urine arsenic >= 100 micrograms per liter);

H. Mercury toxicity, adult (defined as blood mercury >= 2.8 micrograms per deciliter; urine mercury >= 20 micrograms per liter);

I. Cadmium toxicity, adult (defined as blood cadmium >= five micrograms per liter of whole blood; urine cadmium >= three micrograms per gram creatinine);

J. Pesticide toxicity;

K. Work-related injuries in children (under age 18);

L. Work-related fatal injuries;

M. Occupational dermatitis;

N. Carpal tunnel syndrome; and

O. Poisoning caused by known or suspected occupational exposure.

(N.J.S.A. 8:51-3.2)

Note: The Centers for Disease Control has recently reduced the lead blood levels considered to be toxic to 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter.

In this case, what should the physician's report include?

A. Name of the disease, injury, or poisoning;

B. Name of the reporting physician or advanced practice nurse;

C. Name, date of birth, sex, home address, telephone number, name, address and telephone number of employer at the time of exposure or injury; and

D. Date of onset of the disease, injury or poisoning.

(N.J.A.C. 8:57-1.1 et seq)

Copyright Kern Augustine Conroy and Schoppmann, P.C. Used with permission.