Bill Summary for S 191 (2021-2022)
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AN ACT PROVIDING PATIENT VISITATION RIGHTS WILL NOT BE IMPACTED DURING DECLARED DISASTERS AND EMERGENCIES AND DIRECTING THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TO IMPOSE A CIVIL PENALTY FOR ANY VIOLATION OF THOSE RIGHTS.Intro. by Daniel, Krawiec, Britt.
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Includes whereas clauses. Names the act "The No Patient Left Alone Act."
Enacts GS 131E-79.3 to require licensed hospitals to ensure the opportunity for at least one visitor to visit an admitted patient during a period in which a disaster, emergency, or public health emergency has been declared, subject to the facility's normal visitation policy (defined as the policy that was in effect at a facility on January 1, 2020). Requires that at least one parent, guardian, or person standing in loco parentis be allowed the opportunity to visit and be present while a minor is receiving hospital care, subject to custody orders or custody agreements. Requires the minor's visitor to have access to a waiting area when the visitor cannot be in the room with the minor patient due to a medical procedure or other reason. Requires that one immediate family member, defined as a spouse, child, sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, or the spouse of an immediate family member, have the opportunity to visit an admitted adult patient, subject to the facility's normal visitation policy, as defined. Specifies that immediate family member includes stepparents, stepchildren, stepsiblings, and adoptive relationships. Provides that these statutory rights cannot be terminated, suspended, or waived by the hospital, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), or the Governor upon a disaster or emergency declaration. Prohibits requiring patients to waive these statutory visitation rights. Authorizes licensed hospitals to require a visitor to submit to health screenings, or restrict a visitor who does not pass a health screening requirement or who tests positive for an infectious disease. Allows hospitals to require visitors to adhere to infection control procedures, including wearing personal protective equipment. Mandates that licensed hospitals post informational materials developed by DHHS explaining these statutory rights.
Enacts the following statutes, making the patient visitation rights and facility responsibilities specified in new GS 131E-79.3 apply to licensed nursing homes and combination homes, licensed hospice care facilities, licensed adult care homes and special care units, and licensed residential treatment facilities, respectively: GS 131E-112.5; GS 131E-207.5; GS 131D-7.5; and GS 122C-32.
Requires DHHS to develop and disseminate to each described facility free informational materials explaining the enacted statutory rights.