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Reconstructive Surgery Bill Arrives In N.J. State Senate

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NU Online News Service, Oct. 8, 2:45 p.m. State Senators Diane B. Allen (R- Burlington) and Joseph M. Kyrillos (R-Middletown) have filed a bill, S2651, that would require hospital, medical and health service corporations, individual and small and large group commercial insurers and HMOs to provide health care services for reconstructive surgery and related treatments. Among procedures covered are prosthetic management and dental procedures to correct or repair abnormal structures of the body caused by congenital defects, developmental deformities, trauma, infections, tumors or disease, in order to improve function or to create, as much as possible, a “normal” appearance.

The bill is similar to an Assembly bill introduced in June by Assemblymen Francis J. Blee (R-Egg Harbor) and Melvin Cottrell (R-Jackson).

Sponsors cite statistics showing that around 7% percent of American children are born with some sort of congenital defect or deformity, including birthmarks, cleft palate, cleft lip, absent or deformed external ears and profound craniofacial abnormalities. Many of these children are being denied reconstructive health care because of a belief by managed care and insurance companies that procedures to correct the deformities are not medically necessary but are, rather, cosmetic in nature, the bill’s sponsors argue.


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