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State of New Jersey
Executive Order #140

Acting Governor Richard J. Codey

WHEREAS, recent events surrounding the September 11, 2001 tragedy and subsequent anthrax contamination have heightened the public's awareness of the need for a fully integrated and updated public health system in order to respond to public health emergencies; and

WHEREAS, a coalition of public health officials, health care providers and others recently published a report, "Crafting a Restructured Environment (CARE)" which identified the major components of New Jersey's public health system, including, among other issues: infrastructure; fragmentation administrative and operational structure; inadequate funding; lack of public perception; limited access to data; professional recruitment, training and retention; and limited access for segments of the population; and

WHEREAS, it is incumbent upon the State to take action at this time to undertake a comprehensive review to determine whether the State's public health system is sufficiently prepared to handle future public health emergencies.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICHARD J. CODEY, Acting Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

  1. That there is hereby established a Governor's Task Force on Public Health Emergency Planning (Task Force).

    The Task Force shall consist of twelve (12) members as follows:

    1. The Commissioner of Health and Human Services, or a designee, who shall serve ex-officio;
    2. The Attorney General, or a designee, who shall serve ex-officio;
    3. An epidemiologist;
    4. An expert in infectious diseases;
    5. A representative with a background in ensuring that our water supply is safe from terrorism attack;
    6. A representative with a background in ensuring that our food supply is safe from terrorist attack;
    7. An expert with a background and knowledge of coordinating the education and communication systems needed to respond to an emergency;
    8. A representative from the Public Health Association;
    9. The Adjutant General of the Department of Military and Veterans Director of Affairs, or a designee, shall serve ex-officio;
    10. The Director of the Office of Emergency Management, or a designee, ex-officio;
    11. Two public members appointed by the Governor who have expertise in public health issues.

  2. The Task Force shall organize and meet as soon as practicable after the appointment of its members. The Governor shall appoint a Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson. Each member shall hold office for the term of one year and until his or her successor is appointed and qualified. A member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring on the Task Force for any reason other than the expiration of the term shall have a term of appointment for the unexpired term only. A member may be appointed for any number of successive terms. The members shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as members.

  3. The Task Force is charged with:

    1. examining the infrastructure of New Jersey's public health system (at all levels) to determine whether New Jersey is ready to serve the public health needs of its citizens in the event of a future terrorist attack or other public health emergency;
    2. recommending a single definition of "public health" to allow the more than 600 boards of health and local health officials to coordinate their efforts and develop one coordinated public health system;
    3. identifying the statutory and regulatory steps that should be taken to address any issues and/or shortfalls identified;
    4. examining the relationships between local health officials and State health officials to determine whether there is adequate coordination and communication, whether the creation of county health departments is necessary and whether having approximately 525 boards of health and 115 local health agencies properly utilizes State resources;
    5. determining whether the following public health system principles are being met:

      1. preventing epidemics;
      2. protecting the environment, workplace, housing, food and water;
      3. promoting good health behaviors;
      4. monitoring the health status of the population;
      5. mobilizing community action;
      6. responding rapidly and effectively to disaster;
      7. promoting the quality, accessibility and accountability of medical care;
      8. identifying and reaching out to link high-risk and inaccessible people to needed services;
      9. conducting research to develop new insights and innovative solutions; and
      10. leading the development of sound health policy and planning.

    6. determining whether additional funding of our public health system is necessary;
    7. recommending changes to New Jersey's public health system.

  4. The Task Force shall issue a report in 6 months presenting its findings and recommendations to the Governor and both houses of the Legislature.

  5. The Task Force is authorized to call upon any department, office or agency of State government to provide such information, resources or other assistance deemed necessary to discharge it responsibilities under this Order. Each department, office or division and agency of the State is hereby directed, to the extent not inconsistent with law and within budgetary constraints to cooperate with the Task Force to furnish it with such information, personnel and assistance as is necessary to accomplish the purpose of this Order.

  6. This Order shall take effect immediately.

 

GIVEN, under my hand and seal
this 14th day of January in the Year
of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Two
and of the Independence of the
United States, the Two Hundred
and Twenty-Sixth.

/s/ Richard J. Codey

President of the Senate, Acting Governor

[seal]

Attest:

/s/ James A. Harkness

Chief Counsel to the Governor

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