Gopal Bill Helping Breast Cancer Patients Access Care Advances in Assembly

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal which would require hospitals to provide breast cancers with information concerning reconstructive surgery was approved by the Assembly Health and Human Services Committee today..

“As the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in New Jersey, breast cancer must be one of our top priorities,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch).

“That’s why we need to ensure that patients can reliably access high-quality care for treatment and, if necessary, reconstruction.

“Right now, many insurance companies ban physicians from referring a breast cancer patient to a surgeon who best meets their needs - all because the surgeon is out of network. This is unacceptable - their focus must remain on the patient’s well-being. That’s why our bill is written to make sure that doctors are not restricted in any way from helping their patients get personalized clinical care wherever they need it.”

The bill, S-3202, requires hospitals to provide breast cancer patients with information concerning reconstructive surgery. The bill also prohibits carriers from preventing the referral of a covered person to an out-of-network surgeon who provides the full scope of breast cancer reconstructive services necessary and appropriate to the patients’ treatment needs.

The information would be provided to the patient in writing and prior to the surgical procedure. The information would include the patient’s right to seek a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon of the patient’s choice. This is a description of State and federal laws that require carriers to provide coverage for reconstructive surgery, and the patient’s right to obtain reconstructive surgery from a board-certified plastic surgeon regardless of whether the plastic surgeon is affiliated with the general hospital or health care provider.

The bill was previously passed by the Senate by a vote of 39-0. It now proceeds to the floor of the Assembly for a full vote.