CLIFFORD'S LAW. (NEW)

View NCGA Bill Details2021
House Bill 351 (Public) Filed Monday, March 22, 2021
AN ACT DIRECTING THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TO ESTABLISH VISITATION PROTOCOLS FOR NURSING HOMES, COMBINATION HOMES, AND ADULT CARE HOMES, INCLUDING FAMILY CARE HOMES, DURING DECLARED DISASTERS AND EMERGENCIES AND REQUIRING THESE FACILITIES TO ADHERE TO THE ESTABLISHED VISITATION PROTOCOLS DURING DECLARED DISASTERS AND EMERGENCIES WHEN NORMAL VISITATION POLICIES ARE SUSPENDED OR CURTAILED.
Intro. by Dixon, Lambeth, White, Moss.

Status: Ch. SL 2021-145 (Sep 10 2021)

SOG comments (3):

Long title change

House committee substitute to the 1st edition changed the long title. Original long title was AN ACT DIRECTING THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TO ESTABLISH VISITATION PROTOCOLS FOR NURSING HOMES, COMBINATION HOMES, AND HOSPICE CARE FACILITIES DURING DECLARED DISASTERS AND EMERGENCIES AND REQUIRING THESE FACILITIES TO ADHERE TO THE ESTABLISHED VISITATION PROTOCOLS DURING DECLARED DISASTERS AND EMERGENCIES WHEN NORMAL VISITATION POLICIES ARE SUSPENDED OR CURTAILED.

Long title change

Senate committee substitute to the 4th edition changed the long title. Previous title was AN ACT DIRECTING THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TO ESTABLISH VISITATION PROTOCOLS FOR NURSING HOMES, COMBINATION HOMES, HOSPICE CARE FACILITIES, AND ADULT CARE HOMES, INCLUDING FAMILY CARE HOMES, DURING DECLARED DISASTERS AND EMERGENCIES AND REQUIRING THESE FACILITIES TO ADHERE TO THE ESTABLISHED VISITATION PROTOCOLS DURING DECLARED DISASTERS AND EMERGENCIES WHEN NORMAL VISITATION POLICIES ARE SUSPENDED OR CURTAILED.

Long title change

Senate committee substitute to the 5th edition changed the long title. Previous long title was AN ACT PROVIDING PATIENT VISITATION RIGHTS WILL NOT BE IMPACTED DURING DECLARED DISASTERS AND EMERGENCIES, PROTECTING THE RELIGIOUS RIGHTS OF HOSPITAL PATIENTS BY PRESERVING THEIR RIGHT TO RECEIVE VISITS BY CLERGY MEMBERS DURING HOSPITAL STAYS THAT OCCUR DURING A DECLARED DISASTER OR EMERGENCY, AND DIRECTING THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TO IMPOSE A CIVIL PENALTY FOR ANY VIOLATION OF THOSE RIGHTS.

Bill History:

H 351/S.L. 2021-145

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Sep 13 2021 - More information

    AN ACT DIRECTING THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TO ESTABLISH VISITATION PROTOCOLS FOR NURSING HOMES, COMBINATION HOMES, AND ADULT CARE HOMES, INCLUDING FAMILY CARE HOMES, DURING DECLARED DISASTERS AND EMERGENCIES AND REQUIRING THESE FACILITIES TO ADHERE TO THE ESTABLISHED VISITATION PROTOCOLS DURING DECLARED DISASTERS AND EMERGENCIES WHEN NORMAL VISITATION POLICIES ARE SUSPENDED OR CURTAILED. SL 2021-145. Enacted Sept. 10, 2021. Sections 1, 2(a), and 3(a) are effective April 1, 2022. The remainder is effective Sept. 10, 2021.


  • Summary date: Aug 24 2021 - More information

    Senate amendment to the 6th edition makes the following changes.

    Changes the effective dates of the act's provisions as follows. Makes the following sections of the act effective April 1, 2022: Section 1 (citing the act as Clifford's Law; was, effective April 1, 2022); Section 2(a) (enacting GS 131E-112.5 and GS 131E-112.6, directing the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS Secretary) to establish visitation protocols for residents of nursing homes and combination homes that will become effective during a disaster declaration or emergency that results in the suspension or curtailment of the facility's normal visitation policy for any reason; was, effective on the date the act becomes law); and Section 3(a) (enacting GS 131D-7.1 and GS 131D-7.2 as substantively identical provisions regarding adult care homes, including a family care home, as those enacted in GS 131E-112.5 and GS 131E-112.6 concerning licensed nursing homes and combination homes; was, effective on the date the act becomes law). Makes the remainder of the act, regarding implementation and reporting of the visitation protocols by the DHHS Secretary, effective on the date the act becomes law (was, April 1, 2022). 


  • Summary date: Aug 10 2021 - More information

    Senate committee substitute deletes the content of the 5th edition and replaces it with the following.

    Includes whereas clauses. 

    Enacts GS 131E-112.5 to require the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS Secretary) to establish visitation protocols for residents of nursing homes and combination homes that will become effective during a disaster declaration or emergency that results in the suspension or curtailment of the facility's normal visitation policy for any reason. Defines normal visitation policy to mean the visitation policy that was in effect at a facility on January 1, 2020. Lists three minimum requirements for the protocols, including that each resident has the right to designate one preapproved visitor and one preapproved alternative visitor to be allowed to visit the resident at least twice a month during any period of time during which the facility's normal visitation policy is suspended or curtailed for any reason during a declared disaster or emergency, subject to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services directives and to the guidelines, conditions, and limitations established by the facility as part of its normal visitation policy. Requires the DHHS Secretary to consult with licensed operators of nursing homes and combination homes and other relevant stakeholders in establishing the protocols. Defines disaster declaration, emergency, and facility

    Enacts GS 131E-112.6 (concerning licensed nursing homes and combination homes) to define the effectiveness of the protocols established by the DHHS Secretary under new GS 131E-112.5 to be during any period of time when (1) there is a declared disaster or emergency and (2) a licensed nursing home or combination home suspends or restricts the normal visitation policy for any reason. 

    Makes the above provisions effective April 1, 2022. 

    Requires the DHHS Secretary to implement the visitation protocols established under new GS 131E-112.5 by June 15, 2022, and submit a summarizing report of the protocols to the specified NCGA committee chairs at least 30 days prior to implementation. 

    Effective April 1, 2022, enacts GS 131D-7.1 and GS 131D-7.2 to enact substantively identical provisions regarding adult care homes, including a family care home, as those enacted in GS 131E-112.5 and GS 131E-112.6 concerning licensed nursing homes and combination homes. Requires the DHHS Secretary to establish visitation protocols for residents of adult care homes that will become effective during a disaster declaration or emergency that results in the suspension or curtailment of the facility's normal visitation policy for any reason. Requires the DHHS Secretary to consult with licensed operators of adult care homes and other relevant stakeholders in establishing the protocols. Defines the effectiveness of the protocols established by the DHHS Secretary under new GS 131D-7.1 to be during any period of time when (1) there is a declared disaster or emergency and (2) a licensed adult care home suspends or restricts the normal visitation policy for any reason. 

    Requires the DHHS Secretary to implement the visitation protocols established under new GS 131D-7.1 by June 15, 2022, and submit a summarizing report of the protocols to the specified NCGA committee chairs at least 30 days prior to implementation. 

    Changes the act's titles. 


  • Summary date: Jul 22 2021 - More information

    Senate committee substitute deletes the content of the 4th edition and replaces it with the following.

    Includes whereas clauses. 

    Enacts GS 131E-84.05, mandating licensed hospitals to allow a clergy member to visit any patient admitted to the hospital who requests or consents to be visited by a clergy member during their stay, including a stay during a declared disaster or emergency, notwithstanding any State law to the contrary. Subjects the visiting clergy member to health screenings necessary to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Allows hospitals to require adherence to infection control procedures, with an exception for instances in which such procedures interfere with the religious beliefs of the patient or the visiting clergy member.

    Enacts GS 131E-79.3, mandating licensed hospitals to permit patients to receive visitors to the fullest extent permitted under any applicable rules, regulations, or guidelines adopted by either the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or any federal law, notwithstanding any State law to the contrary. Authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to issue a warning to a hospital found by the CMS, CDC, or other federal agency to have violated any federal rule, regulation, guidance or law relating to patient's visitation rights, and to give the hospital 24 hours to allow visitation. Authorizes DHHS to impose a penalty of at least $500 for each instance on each day the hospital is found to have a violation following the 24-hour warning period. Specifies that the penalty is in addition to federally imposed fines or penalties. Adds that in the event that a hospital requires complete closure to visitors, hospitals must use their best efforts to develop alternate protocols that would allow visitation to the greatest extent safely possible. Similarly authorizes DHHS to impose a civil penalty of at least $500 for each instance on each day the hospital is found to have a violation related to alternate visitation protocols, in addition to federally imposed fines or penalties.

    Enacts GS 131E-112.5 (applicable to licensed nursing homes and combination homes), GS 131E-207.5 (applicable to licensed hospice care facilities), and GS 122C-32 (applicable to licensed residential treatment facilities), making the patient visitation rights, facility responsibilities, and civil penalty provisions of new GS 131E-79.3 applicable to the specified facilities, notwithstanding any State law to the contrary. 

    Enacts GS 131D-7.5, mandating licensed adult care homes and special care units to allow residents to receive visitors of their choice, except when one of three circumstances are established by clear and convincing evidence, such as when infection control issues are present or when visitation interferes with the care of other patients. Authorizes DHHS to impose a civil penalty of at least $500 for each instance on each day a facility was found to have a violation.

    Makes the above provisions effective January 1, 2022. 

    Directs DHHS to adopt implementing rules by January 1, 2022, including certain notice requirements regarding patient visitation rights and contact information for entities charged with investigating violations. 

    Changes the act's titles. 


  • Summary date: Apr 1 2021 - More information

    House amendment makes the following changes to the 3rd edition.

    Adds that the visitation protocols established by the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary under GS 131E-112.5, concerning nursing homes, combination homes, and hospice care facilities, and GS 131D-7.1, concerning adult care homes, are subject to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services directives. 


  • Summary date: Mar 31 2021 - More information

    House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 2nd edition.

    Changes the effective date of the proposed codifications to GS Chapters 131E and 131D to April 1, 2022 (was effective on the date the act becomes law).


  • Summary date: Mar 30 2021 - More information

    House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.

    Adds the following. Enacts GS 131D-7.1 and GS 131D-7.2 to enact substantively identical provisions regarding adult care homes as those enacted in GS 131E-112.5 and GS 131E-112.6 concerning licensed nursing homes, combination homes, and hospice care facilities in the 1st edition. Requires the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS Secretary) to establish visitation protocols for residents of adult care homes that will become effective during a disaster declaration or emergency that results in the suspension or curtailment of the facility's normal visitation policy for any reason. Defines normal visitation policy to mean the visitation policy that was in effect at a facility on January 1, 2020. Lists three minimum requirements for the protocols, identical to those listed for licensed nursing homes, combination homes, and hospice care facilities enacted in the previous edition. Requires the DHHS Secretary to consult with licensed operators of adult care homes and other relevant stakeholders in establishing the protocols. Defines disaster declaration, emergency, and facility. Defines the effectiveness of the protocols established by the DHHS Secretary under new GS 131D-7.1 to be during any period of time when (1) there is a declared disaster or emergency and (2) a licensed adult care home suspends or restricts the normal visitation policy for any reason. 

    Requires the DHHS Secretary to implement the visitation protocols established under new GS 131D-7.1 by March 15, 2022, and submit a summarizing report of the protocols to the specified NCGA committee chairs at least 30 days prior to implementation. 

    Makes conforming changes to the act's long title.


  • Summary date: Mar 22 2021 - More information

    Includes whereas clauses. Enacts GS 131E-112.5 to require the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS Secretary) to establish visitation protocols for residents of nursing homes, combination homes, and hospice care facilities that will become effective during a disaster declaration or emergency that results in the suspension or curtailment of the facility's normal visitation policy for any reason. Defines normal visitation policy to mean the visitation policy that was in effect at a facility on January 1, 2020. Lists three minimum requirements for the protocols, including that each resident has the right to designate one preapproved visitor and one preapproved alternative visitor to be allowed to visit the resident at least twice a month during any period of time during which the facility's normal visitation policy is suspended or curtailed for any reason during a declared disaster or emergency. Requires the DHHS Secretary to consult with licensed operators of nursing homes, combination homes, and hospice care facilities and other relevant stakeholders in establishing the protocols. Defines disaster declaration, emergency, and facility. 

    Enacts GS 131E-112.6 (concerning licensed nursing homes and combination homes) and GS 131E-207.5 (concerning licensed hospice care facilities) to define the effectiveness of the protocols established by the DHHS Secretary under new GS 131E-112.5 to be during any period of time when (1) there is a declared disaster or emergency, and (2) a licensed nursing home or combination home, or a licensed hospice care facility, respectively, suspends or restricts the normal visitation policy for any reason. 

    Requires the DHHS Secretary to implement the visitation protocols established under new GS 131E-112.5 by March 15, 2022, and submit a summarizing report of the protocols to the specified NCGA committee chairs at least 30 days prior to implementation. 


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