Bill Summary for S 191 (2021)

Summary date: 

Sep 23 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
Senate Bill 191 (Public) Filed Monday, March 8, 2021
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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Bill summary

Conference report makes the following changes to the 3rd edition.

Makes the following changes to proposed GS 131E-79.3. No longer provides that the requirement that licensed hospitals allow patients to receive visitors to the fullest extent permitted is notwithstanding any provision of this Article, GS Chapter 166A of the General Statutes, or any other provision of law to the contrary. Corrects the name of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adds the following. Requires hospitals to provide notice of the patient visitation rights in this act to patients and, when possible patients' family members; sets out contact information that must be included in the notice. Requires each hospital to allow compassionate care visits. Allows a hospital to require compassionate care visitors to submit to health screenings necessary to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, and allows a hospital to restrict a compassionate care visitor who does not pass a health screening requirement or who has tested positive for an infectious disease. Allows a hospital to require compassionate care visitors to adhere to infection control procedures. Sets out a non-exhaustive list of compassionate care situations that require visits. Requires the North Carolina Medical Care Commission (Commission) to adopt rules necessary to require each hospital to have written policies and procedures for visitation.

Deletes the content of proposed GS 131E-112.5 (patient visitation rights for nursing home residents and combination home residents) and replaces it with the following. Requires each licensed nursing or combination home to allow patients and residents 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 or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or any federal law. Provides that if the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or any other federal agency finds a nursing or combination home has violated any rule, regulation, guidance, or federal law relating to a patient's or resident's visitation rights, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) may issue a warning about the violation and give the nursing or combination home not more than 24 hours to allow visitation; if visitation is not allowed after the 24-hour warning period, a civil penalty of no less than $500 for each instance on each day the nursing or combination home was found to have a violation is to be imposed. Provides that if circumstances require the complete closure of a nursing or combination home to visitors, the nursing or combination home must use its best efforts to develop alternate visitation protocols that would allow visitation to the greatest extent safely possible; if those alternate protocols are found to violate any rule, regulation, guidance, or federal law relating to a patient's or resident's visitation rights, a civil penalty may be imposed in an amount no less $500 for each instance on each day the nursing or combination home was found to have a violation. Requires giving notice of the patient and resident visitation rights in this act to patients and residents and, when possible, their family members; sets out contact information that must be included in the notice. Requires each nursing or combination home to allow compassionate care visits. Allows requiring compassionate care visitors to submit to health screenings necessary to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, and allows restriction of a compassionate care visitor who does not pass a health screening requirement or who has tested positive for an infectious disease. Allows a nursing or combination home to require compassionate care visitors to adhere to infection control procedures. Sets out a non-exhaustive list of compassionate care situations that require visits.

Deletes the content of proposed (1) GS 131E-207.5 concerning patient visitation rights for residents of hospice care facilities; (2) GS 131D-7.5 concerning patient visitation rights for adult care home residents and special care units residents and (3) GS 122C-32 concerning patient visitation rights for residents of residential treatment facilities, and replaces them with provisions that are substantively similar to those in GS 131E-112.5 described above.

Deletes former Section 7 of the act, which required DHHS, by October 1, 2021, to adopt rules to implement the provisions of this act, and set out additional provisions governing those rules.

Changes the act's effective date to November 1, 2021 (was, when the act becomes law).

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