House Bill 242S is bipartisan sponsored bill from Republican Represenative Tim Dukes and Democratic Senator Nicole Poore that effectively split the Democratic Caucus during its vote on the final day of the session. The bill passed 28-13, with all 16 Republicans and 12 Democrats voting yes, and 13 Democrats voting no.
The bill, known as “The No Patient Left Alone Act,” is intended to mitigate unintended negative impacts on patients in hospitals during a State of Emergency, pandemic, or infectious disease outbreak. This bill would require hospitals to allow limited in-person visitation with patients, within designated parameters and limitations provided for in this bill.
Hospitals would be able to:
- restrict the number of visitors a patient could receive daily;
- require visitors to undergo and pass a specified health screening;
- and require use of personal protective equipment while visiting.
Hospitals must make personal protective equipment required available for visitors for purchase.
Entry could be denied to visitors not complying with the requirements, that failed their health screenings, or who were found to have a communicable disease.
Attending physicians would retain the authority to deny in-person visitation if they deemed their patients would be at risk for contracting an infectious disease or if they believed visitation posed a serious community health risk. Such determinations would be valid for up to seven days and subject to renewal.
Hospitals could deny visitation if a federal order, law, or regulation required it.
If a prospective hospital visitor were denied in-person visitation with a patient, the hospital would be required, to its best efforts, to develop alternate visitation protocols that would allow visitation to the greatest extent safely possible. This could include, but not be limited to, streaming audio and video.
Hospitals could not prohibit in-person visitation by a religious counselor to a seriously ill or dying patient, providing that the counselor complied with all visitation mandates established under this bill. A visit by a religious counselor would not be counted against any daily visitation limit set by the hospital.
The Department of Health and Social Services would be responsible for overseeing the implementation, operation, and enforcement of this bill. Hospitals could be subject to fines for violating the terms of this bill, providing the violations continue after the hospitals have been informed of the need to take corrective action. This section does not create a civil cause of action against a hospital or physician.
|House Bill 242S – NO PATIENT LEFT ALONE ACT||Currrent Status – House Passed 28-13. Sent to the Senate|
|House Sponsors – Dukes, Gray, Hensley, Short, Yearick // Matthews, Osienski||Senate Sponsors – Poore, Sokola, Hoffner // Pettyjohn, Richardson, Wilson|
|House Yes Votes – Bolden Carson Chukwuocha Cooke Dorsey-Walker Griffith Johnson Longhurst Matthews Minor-Brown Osienski Schwartzkopf Williams // Briggs King Collins Dukes Gray Hensley Hilovsky Morris Postles Ramone Short Shupe Smith Spiegelman Vanderwende Yearick||Senate Yes Votes –|
|House No Votes – Baumbach, Bush, Harris, Heffernan, Lambert, Lynn, Morrison, Neal, Parker Selby, Phillips, Romer, Moore, Wilson-Anton||Senate No Votes –|
|House Absents or Not Voting –||Senate Absent or Not Voting –|