PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
May 1, 2023

Judith M. Persichilli

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

New Jersey Department of Health Proposes to Readopt Existing N.J.A.C. 10:36, Patient Supervision at State Psychiatric Hospitals, with Amendments and Recodification as New N.J.A.C. 8:135

The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) today proposes to readopt existing N.J.A.C. 10:36 Patient Supervision at State Psychiatric Hospitals, with amendments, and proposes to recodify the chapter as new N.J.A.C. 8:135, to reflect the 2018 reorganization of jurisdiction over the operation and administration of State psychiatric hospitals from the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) to NJDOH.

The existing chapter identifies the differing levels of structure and supervision that can apply to patients in State psychiatric hospitals and establishes clinical standards by which hospital staff determine the level to assign to each patient, including patients who have “special status” designation.  The chapter also establishes standards for the transfer of involuntarily committed patients between State psychiatric hospitals.

NJDOH proposes technical amendments throughout the chapter to delete references to DHS, its subunits, and DHS personnel whom the chapter identifies by title, and replace these with corresponding references to NJDOH and its subunits and personnel, to reflect the jurisdictional reorganization.  Other technical amendments would update rule text to use gender-neutral language, remove language that tends to stigmatize or objectify patients who have psychiatric illnesses, and otherwise streamline and restate the responsibilities of hospital and NJDOH staff in implementing the supervision levels system and transferring involuntarily committed patients.

Among proposed substantive amendments, NJDOH proposes to amend the definitions of the terms, “special status patient,” to add charges for attempted crimes and carjacking to the qualifying offenses, and “treatment plan,” to require assessment of a patient’s risk of violence in establishing the plan.  NJDOH proposes to revise the procedure by which treatment teams evaluate a special status patient’s risk of violence by requiring teams to use evidence-based risk assessment tools, which would inform the decision-making process in the establishment of patient treatment, transfer, and discharge plans.

The notice of proposal appears in the May 1, 2023, issue of the New Jersey Register.  Persons wishing to comment on the proposal must submit written comments either: (1) electronically on or before June 30, 2023, at www.nj.gov/health/legal/ecomments.shtml, or (2) by regular mail postmarked on or before June 30, 2023, to Joy L. Lindo, Director, Office of Legal and Regulatory Compliance, New Jersey Department of Health, PO Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360.

LexisNexis® provides free online access to the New Jersey Register at http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/njoal.  An unofficial copy of the notice of proposal is available from the Department’s website at https://www.nj.gov/health/legal/rules/notice-of-rule-proposals.

Last Reviewed: 5/1/2023