Sen. Zwicker, Asm. Freiman & Asw. Drulis Announce Immediate Project Revival, New Contractor for Route 206 Construction

July 22, 2024

Trenton – In an effort to improve health outcomes in the state, the Senate advanced legislation today sponsored by Senators Shirley K. Turner and Senator Andrew Zwicker which would increase access to comprehensive sickle cell treatment care.

The bill, S-2710, sponsored by Senators Turner and Zwicker, would require the Department of Health (DOH) to establish a three year sickle cell pilot program. The bill would provide $10.2 million in grants to federally qualified health centers selected for participation in the program.

“Despite medical advances, sickle cell patients continue to have difficulty accessing specialty care, which in turn disproportionately affects Black and Latino communities, who are more likely to be born with the disease,” said Senator Turner (D-Hunterdon/Mercer). “The lack of a robust and well-resourced sickle cell specialty network limits patient access to new and potentially better treatment options. This bill is a first step to eliminating discriminatory treatment practices, improving the quality of life of sickle cell patients, and getting patients the care they need and deserve.”

Under the bill, at least six sickle cell comprehensive treatment centers would be established, with centers located in Jersey City, Newark, Paterson, Plainfield, Trenton, and Camden. The bill would direct the DOH, in collaboration with the treatment centers, to coordinate with health care facilities and professionals to establish sickle cell research and innovation centers within the treatment centers.

“Sadly, New Jersey is among the top ten states in the nation in terms of the prevalence of sickle cell disease. There is a shortage of specialists, and patients have difficulty finding integrated, comprehensive teams to provide coordinated medical, social, educational, and behavioral health services,” said Senator Zwicker (D-Hunterdon/Mercer/Middlesex/Somerset). “As a result, affected individuals are forced to obtain care in hospital emergency departments and other non-sickle cell specialty settings. This legislation would address this issue by increasing patient access to centralized sickle cell specialty care.”

 The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 35-0 and now heads to the Governor’s desk for final approval.