Public Notices and Press Releases

New Jersey Proposes Stricter Rules to Prevent Sexual Misconduct in Medical Settings

The state moves to bolster patient rights and safety with new requirements for physicians during sensitive examinations.

MORRISTOWN, NJ — In an ongoing effort to safeguard patients from sexual misconduct in medical environments, Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin, together with the Division of Consumer Affairs, announced today a set of proposed regulatory amendments aimed at enhancing protections during medical examinations. These rules, now open for public comment, focus on increasing transparency and accountability in the medical profession.

Published in today's New Jersey Register, the proposed amendments to the Board of Medical Examiners’ rules include several key measures to ensure patient safety and dignity. A critical aspect of the new rules is the heightened awareness of a patient's right to have an observer present during examinations of a sensitive nature such as breast, pelvic, genitalia, and rectal exams. Furthermore, the amendments stipulate that patients must be informed of this right before the examination begins and in a language they fully understand.

The proposed rules specify the need for notices both in written form and conspicuous posting within medical facilities, ensuring that all patients, regardless of their linguistic background, are aware of their rights. To address New Jersey's diverse population, notices will be required in English, Spanish, and any other languages spoken by a significant portion of the state's population as identified by the Division.

In addition to procedural changes, the rules mandate that any observer must be a health care professional licensed by the Board of Medical Examiners, the Board of Nursing, or a certified medical assistant, equipped with the necessary training to act as an effective check on physician conduct.

Moreover, the proposed regulations call for physicians to undergo continuing medical education focused on the prevention of sexual misconduct. This education will cover a range of topics, including understanding the dynamics of sexual misconduct, obtaining informed consent for sensitive procedures, and recognizing the signs of human trafficking.

New Jersey is committed to rooting out and preventing sexual misconduct and abuse in professional settings, including doctors’ offices, where such breaches cause lasting harm to patients and tarnish the integrity of the medical profession,” said Attorney General Platkin.

Together with our Board of Medical Examiners, we are taking steps to protect patients when they are at their most vulnerable and to educate physicians on best practices during sensitive exams,” said Cari Fais, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs.

The public is encouraged to review the proposed rules and submit comments by June 14, 2024, as New Jersey seeks to finalize these protections and reinforce its stance against misconduct in healthcare settings.

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