Senate President Stephen Sweeney
Deputy Speaker John Burzichelli
Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro


Health Care Access and Patient Safety


  • Senator Sweeney and Assemblyman Burzichelli sponsored an anti-discrimination law that prevents New Jersey hospitals from declining an organ transplant on a patient because he/she has a developmental disability. The law was inspired by an incident in Pennsylvania where a family was allegedly told their 3-year-old child would not be eligible for a kidney transplant because she has a mental disability.


  • Senator Sweeney drafted a new law which requires school districts to ensure that students with disabilities have opportunities to participate in athletic activities equal to those of other students.


  • In response to rising prescription drug costs for public sector workers, Senator Sweeney drafted and sponsored legislation designed to root out profiteering by drug companies and the “pharmaceutical benefit manager” responsible for purchasing and supplying medications for public employees in New Jersey. Under the law, the state will hire a benefits manager to employ “reverse auction” services to audit spending and perform instant price comparisons to ensure that the right medications are being purchased for the right costs. This electronic monitoring, which is essentially an online competitive bidding process, will save at least $200 million annually while simultaneously preserving employee drug benefits.


  • In an effort to confront the epidemic of opioid addiction, Assemblyman Taliaferro co-sponsored legislation, now law, which requires healthcare practitioners to discuss the risk of addiction when prescribing certain drugs to patients who are minors. The law applies to Schedule II controlled dangerous substances and any prescription opioid drug. The practitioner would discuss the risks of developing a physical or psychological dependence on the drug and the availability of alternative treatments.


  • To address another growing drug trend, Assemblyman Taliaferro sponsored legislation, which became law in August, criminalizing the possession and sale of the synthetic drug alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (alpha-PVP), which also is known as “flakka,” or “flocka.” Alpha-PVP is chemically similar to other synthetic cathinone drugs, commonly referred to as “bath salts.” It is frequently marketed as a “legal” alternative to cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA, and has been sold at smoke shops, convenience stores, gas stations, and been made available for purchase on the Internet. The law establishes criminal penalties for the possession of alpha-PVP.


  • Assemblyman Burzichelli has penned a law that would permit hospitals to implement incentive plans to provide physicians with performance-based payments in an effort to increase quality of care and reduce costs. Hospitals that seek to establish a plan will be required to form a steering committee to implement institutional and specialty-specific goals related to patient safety, quality of care, and operational performance with at least half of the members serving on the committee to be physicians. The New Jersey Department of Health will review each hospital and physician incentive plan to determine whether the plan is operated in compliance with this act and other relevant State and federal laws and regulations, and whether the hospital and physician incentive plan has resulted in a degradation of quality of health care provided to patients attributable to the hospital and physician incentive plan. The department will have authority to terminate a hospital and physician incentive plan if the department’s review finds that the hospital and physician incentive plan fails to comply with state or federal law, or if it results in a degradation of quality of patient care.

District Offices

Gloucester County

Kingsway Commons
935 Kings Highway, Suite 400
West Deptford, NJ 08086
Phone: (856) 251-9801
Fax: (856) 251-9752

Salem/Cumberland Counties

The Finlaw Building
199 East Broadway, Suite G
Salem, NJ 08079
Phone: (856) 339-0808 or
             (856) 455-1011
Fax: (856) 339-9626