Florida lawmakers are introducing a bill that would require hospitals to allow visits to patients in the event of a pandemic
Dubbed the No Patient Alone Act, the bill, sent Thursday to the Florida Senate, seeks to ensure that patients and residents of hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities can have visitors.
The bill (SB 988), introduced by Senator Eliana Garcia, Republican of Miami, comes after many facilities have halted or restricted their visits for periods during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill includes a legislative conclusion that “it is in the interest of the state and its residents that patients and residents of health care facilities are allowed to be visited by visitors of their choosing while they are in hospital or hospital treatment.”
The bill would direct health care providers to allow patients or residents to have visitors. If access is to be restricted for health or safety reasons, providers will have to “develop alternative visitation protocols that allow for a visit to the maximum extent possible while maintaining the health and safety of the customer” under the invoice.
The proposal will also require in-person visits in certain circumstances, such as end-of-life situations; times when patients or residents grieve the death of friends or family members; and situations where patients or residents need encouragement to eat or drink and are experiencing weight loss or dehydration.
The bill has been submitted for consideration during the 2022 legislative session, which will begin in January.
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