Sen. Garcia files second bill to provide patient healthcare rights

by | Nov 18, 2021


Entitled the ‘No Patient Left Alone Act,’ a bill filed Thursday in the Florida Senate, seeks to ensure that patients and residents of hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities are allowed to have visitors.

Senate Bill 988 (SB 988), filed by Sen. Ileana Garcia (R-Miami), culminated following the prevention of visitors in health facilities for periods during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill includes a legislative finding “that it is in the best interest of the state and its residents that the patients and residents of health care facilities be allowed visitation by visitors of their choosing during their hospitalization or residential treatment.”

If access needs to be restricted for health or safety concerns, the providers would have to provide alternate visitation protocols that allow visitation of some capacity while maintaining client health and safety.

The proposal also would require in-person visits in certain instances including end-of-life situations, times of grief; and situations when patients or residents need encouragement to eat or drink.

However, the bill grants authorizing providers the power to refuse visitation to a visitor who does not pass a health screening or refuses to comply with the provider’s infection control protocols.

Similar policies have been proposed throughout the country in states like Oklahoma, where a bill of the same name would allow for one hospital visitor per patient.

In North Carolina, a bill became a policy that allows unfettered visitation to facilities like hospitals, nursing homes, and hospice care centers.

Garcia on Nov. 3rd introduced a bill aimed at protecting children with epilepsy and those that suffer from seizures.

Senate Bill 340 (SB 340) provides for the creation of an individualized seizure action plan for a student with epilepsy or seizure disorders to receive health care at school, requiring school nurses or appropriate school employees to coordinate the care of such students and ensure that specified training is provided to specified school employees and individuals.

“Suffering from seizures as a child, I know firsthand how traumatic it can be. I endured the stigma mockery of my peers—but many times tough childhood experiences motivate people to become Senators,” said Garcia. “Today, I get to be part of something life-changing for children just like me.”


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