The New Jersey Hospital Association and other healthcare groups unveiled a voluntary emergency code system for hospitals and providers of long-term, home and primary care. For example, "code red" will always mean "fire" across all participating facilities in the state, while "code orange" indicates a hazardous materials incident. Association officials said the common system will reduce confusion for staff who frequently work at more than one hospital and will allow hospitals to communicate more clearly with each other and authorities during regional or statewide emergencies. Officials said Genesis Healthcare, a long-term-care company, plans to implement the standard codes nationally. California has a similar system, but New Jersey apparently is the first state to adopt a code system for the full continuum of care. -- by Cinda Becker
N.J. providers standardize emergency code system
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