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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Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.
Revises and adds to the act's whereas clauses. Changes the act's long title.
Deletes the provisions of proposed GS 131E-79.3 and replaces them with the following provisions. Requires licensed hospitals to permit patients to receive visitors to the fullest extent permitted under any applicable rules, regulations, or guidelines adopted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) or any federal law. Authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to issue a warning to a hospital found by CMS or any other federal agency to have violated any rule, regulation, guidance, or federal law relating to a patient's visitation rights, giving the hospital 24 hours to allow visitation, after which DHHS is authorized to impose a penalty of no less than $500 for each instance on each day of the violation in addition to federal fines and penalties. Directs hospitals to use their best efforts to develop alternate visitation protocols that would allow visitation to the greatest extent safely possibly in the event the hospital is completely closed to visitors, with identical authority granted to impose civil penalties for alternate protocols which violate rules, regulations, guidance or federal law relating to a patient's visitation rights.
Revises proposed GS 131E-112.5 (concerning nursing homes and combination homes), GS 131E-207.5 (concerning hospice care facilities), and GS 122C-32 (concerning residential treatment facilities), to also make the civil penalty provisions of new GS 131E-79.3 applicable to those facilities.
Revises proposed GS 131D-7.5 to now require any licensed adult care home or special care unit to allow residents to receive visitors of their choice unless, when established by clear and convincing evidence, infection control issues are present; visitation interferes with the care of other patients; or visitors engage or have engaged in disruptive, threatening, or violent behavior of any kind. Authorizes DHHS to impose civil penalty of at least $500 for each instance on each day a facility is found to be in violation.
No longer requires DHHS to develop and disseminate to each described facility free informational materials explaining the enacted statutory rights. Instead, directs DHHS to adopt implementing rules by October 1, 2021, including a requirement that facilities provide notice of the patient visitation rights in the act to patients, residents, and when possible, family members of patients and residents, which must include the contact information for entities responsible for investigating violations.