New year, new health care laws in the Garden State

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(The Center Square) — The new year signals new laws taking effect in New Jersey, especially in the health care industry.

A new law will expand access to contraceptives by allowing pharmacists to dispense self-administered hormonal contraceptives without prescription. The Senate bill includes access to birth control pills, patches and rings.

Supporters say the measure reduces “barriers to access” to family planning tools, providing the issuance of a standing order to authorize pharmacists to offer self-administered hormonal birth-control options without requiring individual prescription.

Gov. Phil Murphy argues the legislation was necessary to combat restrictions on reproductive health care.

“While many other states are working to restrict access to reproductive health care — including contraceptives — our state continues to protect this fundamental right and expand access to this critical care on behalf of all who need it,” said Murphy.

The governor says the move will promote “health equity” by easing contraceptive access.

“The current requirement of an individualized prescription imposes an unnecessary burden on people who may be unable to afford or find the time to go to a health care provider for a prescription. Removing that requirement will promote health equity and ease of access to contraceptives in order to empower women to make their own reproductive choices,” Murphy added.

New Jersey is making it easier for veterans with applicable medical training to become licensed practical nurses as civilians. The governor argues the new law will help veterans and strengthen the state’s health care system.

“It is our duty as a State and as a society to support the veterans who have selflessly served in defense of our country,” said Murphy. “We are making it easier for other veterans to obtain civilian employment as licensed practical nurses by recognizing the medical training they received during their time in the military, which will also help bolster our statewide health care system.”

The Murphy administration is touting three pieces of legislation signed by the governor that supporters argue will help make prescription drugs more affordable by capping out-of-pocket expenses, establishing more oversight of pharmacy benefit managers and promoting pharmaceutical supply chain transparency.

“This is a huge step forward in our ongoing efforts to deliver much-needed relief to countless families throughout our state who are struggling to afford critical medications,” Murphy touted.

Lastly, the state has expanded the Safe Haven Infant Protection Act, which allows women who give birth in licensed general hospitals to surrender their babies safely under the new law.

“In New Jersey, we offer a legal, judgement-free way for individuals to surrender their baby to professionals who will ensure the infant receives the care they need,” Murphy explained.

“Expanding this critical law will make it easier for residents to safely give their baby up after childbirth by making entire hospitals safe surrender sites.”

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