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DeSantis Signs Bill To Guarantee Visitation Rights For Patients And Their Family Members

   DailyWire.com
Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
Tristan Wheelock/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill on Wednesday to guarantee Florida families the fundamental right to visit their loved ones receiving care in hospitals, hospices, and long-term care facilities, promising his residents that they will not be “denied the right” to see their loved ones in hospitals or nursing homes.

SB 988, the No Patient Left Alone Act, allows a resident, client, or patient the option to designate a visitor who is a family member, friend, guardian, or another person as an essential caregiver, according to a statement from the governor’s office. “The provider must allow in-person visitation by the essential caregiver for at least two hours daily in addition to any other visitation authorized by the provider,” the text of the bill states.

“Throughout the pandemic, the federal government has waived protections for families to visit their loved ones in hospitals and long-term care facilities. That is unacceptable,” DeSantis said in the statement.

“Here in Florida, we recognize that family and human connection is one of the most important aspects of physical, mental, and emotional well-being and we are ensuring Floridians are never again denied the right to see their relatives and friends while in hospitals or nursing homes,” he added.

Florida first lady Casey DeSantis also noted the importance of seeing loved ones during life’s tragedies.

“It is wonderful to see the rights of hospital and nursing home patients protected and signed into law,” she said.

“Patients shouldn’t be denied the right to see their loved ones, especially during life’s difficult moments. Thank you to Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for prioritizing this important issue. Hopefully, this law will bring much peace, comfort, and clarity to Floridians,” she added.

Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller applauded the new law, noting her experiences watching family members unable to visit family members in hospitals or care facilities.

“Over the past year, I have seen the struggles that residents have experienced in hospitals and long-term care facilities where they were unable to visit with their family,” Marstiller shared.

“I applaud the Governor and Florida Legislature for taking this very important step to guarantee visitation as a fundamental right for these residents. As Florida’s health care regulator, we take these matters seriously and stand ready to investigate any violations of this law,” she said.

The new law requires all Florida hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled to adopt and post their visitation policies on their website by May 6. Anyone in the state who faces problems with access to loved ones in medical care is encouraged to file a complaint with the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration.

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