New Florida law prohibits hospitals and nursing facilities from turning away visitors due to COVID vax status

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NAPLES, Florida. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday signed a “No Patient Left Alone Act” bill into law, establishing in-person visitation rights at hospitals and long-term care facilities statewide, regardless of or the status of vaccination against COVID-19.

DeSantis, joined by Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo and Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller, discussed and signed SB 988 at a press conference held at Glenview at Pelican Bay, a retirement home in Naples.

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“We’ve worked really hard with our hospitals to tell them, ‘Yes, I understand you’re trying to mitigate COVID, and that’s important, but you can’t just rule out all of these human interactions for people who are at hospital and have really difficult circumstances,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis added that he finds it “fundamentally wrong” to close visitors to hospitals when loved ones die or are being treated for less serious health conditions.

“So what we’re doing here today is highlighting and consolidating into Florida law these really important rights for Floridians (with the) ‘No Patient Left Alone Act’ and that increases patient protections and ensures Florida families the basic right to visit loved ones those receiving care in Florida hospitals, hospices and long-term care facilities The bill prohibits facilities from requiring visitors that they present proof of COVID vaccination,” DeSantis said.

Marstiller, who oversees Florida’s hospital systems and nursing homes, detailed the details of the law, which requires state health care facilities covered by it to develop rule-compliant visitation policies in 30 days from Wednesday.

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She said visitation should be allowed in a variety of situations, including “if a person who lived with their family before entering a facility is struggling and struggling with a change in environment, if the person has to make a very important in health care. . if a person is experiencing emotional distress or mourning the loss of a recently deceased friend or family member, if a person needs directions or encouragement to eat or drink that was previously provided by a member of the family or a caregiver, if someone who used to talk and interact with others, suddenly now we rarely talk with individuals… in a situation of childbirth… and finally, (when he are) pediatric patients.

Marstiller said she will soon put a page on her website where people can file a complaint when they are denied visitation with loved ones. Those wishing to file a complaint can also do so by calling 888-775-6005.

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