Gov. Murphy signs 2 laws aimed at reforming New Jersey’s long-term care industry

Gov. Phil Murphy has signed two bills that seek to address staffing shortages and residents' isolation at New Jersey's long-term care facilities.
The bills signed Friday are an outgrowth of a consultant's report released in June that reviewed vulnerabilities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. One bill requires minimum staff-to-patient ratios. The other requires facilities to create policies to prevent social isolation of residents and enable better communication with loved ones.
“New Jersey, as we have promised from Day 1, will learn from this pandemic and emerge as a national model for solving immediate problems in long-term care, but also at the same time, building future resilience,” Murphy said.
More than 7,000 people have died from COVID-19 in New Jersey's long-term care facilities, about half of the state's total deaths. Families of patients often were left scrambling for information about their loved ones for days or weeks.
The governor has been criticized for a March 31 directive that mandated that residents with COVID-19 could return to the facilities after they left the hospitals.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.