TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Fred Madden (D – Gloucester, Camden) that would require the reporting of children’s sudden cardiac events and establish a statewide database to keep track of such information was signed into law today.
“Collecting data about sudden cardiac events is the next step in our ongoing fight to raise awareness about the dangers and warning signs of cardiac arrest,” said Senator Madden. “With thousands of young people dying from cardiac conditions each year, we can no longer wait to combat this medical epidemic. A centralized registry of this information will allow us to make better and smarter decisions concerning our children’s health.”
The legislation, S-1911/A-3047, also known as the “Children’s Sudden Cardiac Events Reporting Act,” requires a health care professional who makes the diagnosis of a sudden cardiac event in a child under 19 years old or who makes the actual determination and pronouncement of the death of a child, as applicable, to report the event to the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). Further, the law establishes the Children’s Sudden Cardiac Events Registry in DHSS. The registry will include a record of all sudden cardiac events reported and any other information that DHSS deems relevant and appropriate.
The legislation also directs Commissioner of Health and Senior Services to establish an eleven-member Children’s Sudden Cardiac Events Review Board in the DHSS to review and evaluate the information collected in the registry. The board is authorized to study any other relevant data that may supplement the reported information. Under the law, the board will be comprised of the Commissioners of Health and Senior Services, Children and Families, and Education, or their designees, and eight appointed members of the public representing various health and advocacy groups.
“Establishing a task force to examine issues related to cardiac conditions in children was a promising first step, but we also have a duty to carry out their recommendations through actual policy and legislation,” said Senator Madden. “The task force’s findings offer great insight into ways that we can improve the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of sudden cardiac events. This bill is one way that we can make these recommendations a reality and prevent the tragic death of young people at risk.”
In 2009, the Legislature responded to concern over a growing number of sudden deaths in student athletes by passing Senator Madden’s legislation establishing the task force. The task force was given the responsibility of studying, evaluating and developing recommendations relating to specific actionable measures to enhance screening of student athletes for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and other life-threatening cardiac conditions.
The measure is just one of a series of bills sponsored by Senator Madden that were inspired by recommendations made by the New Jersey Student Athlete Cardiac Screening Task Force, which officially issued its report in April 2012 on how to prevent sudden cardiac death in student athletes between the ages of 12 and 19.
Additional legislation he has sponsored include: S1912, which would update the pre-participation history and physical examination form and ensure all healthcare professionals who conduct pre-participation histories and physical examinations of student athletes are properly licensed; and S2461, which would expand medical examinations for all children to include questions evaluating the child’s cardiovascular disease risk.
The General Assembly approved the legislation in June with a vote of 75-0. It unanimously cleared the full Senate last October. The law goes into effect seventh months following the date of enactment.