After several hours of last minute lobbying on June 24, 1999, and a pressure filled conference call with Garland Dance, C.C.P and Benjamin N. DeBenedetto, C.C.P, a slightly nervous Christine Steams and Claudette Leone of the Princeton Public Affairs Group, Inc. felt they had satisfied the last minute questions of a wavering Governor and questioning Deputy Attorney Generals. They felt the looming question of the Governors conditional veto seemed to have dissipated and awaited Friday's verdict.
On June 25, 1999 Governor Whitman signed into law the New Jersey "Perfusionist Licensure Act" allowing for the creation of the Perfusion Advisory Committee (PAC) under the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners. This committee will administrate the professional licensing of Cardiovascular Perfusionists. This law will provide protection of the public by mandating, by law, basic educational and clinical training and ABCP certification of perfusionists and will create a mechanism to investigate and adjudicate claims of unprofessional or unethical conduct by a perfusionist.
This achievement has culminated in almost four years of work by a core group of perfusionists who held their belief that this law would provide protection for cardiac surgery patients were none existed before. This achievement would have never come to fruition without the support of the membership of the New Jersey State Perfusion Society, Inc. and the excellent lobbying services provided by Christine Steams and Dale Florio of the Princeton Public Affairs Group, Inc. New Jersey is the fifth state to gain licensure for perfusionists in the United States. Governor Whitman will appoint the six perfusionists and a physician to the committee. The Senate must approve all seven appointments.
The New Jersey State Perfusion Society, Inc. will now be challenged with the new prospect of reorienting ourselves to our other goals of continuing to educate our membership on issues pertaining to the science and practice of extracorporeal technology and the effect on patient care and safety. As the licensing process continues we will continue to provide our membership with up to date information as well as educational information on perfusion issues that will allow us to grow in our chosen profession that we have worked so hard to represent.
Benjamin N. DeBenedetto, C.C.P
Chairman, Government Relations Committee
New Jersey State Perfusion Society, Inc.