Florida Senate - 2022                              CS for SB 988
       By the Committee on Health Policy; and Senators Garcia, Berman,
       Rodriguez, and Perry
       588-01989-22                                           2022988c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to patient visitation rights;
    3         providing a short title; creating s. 408.823, F.S.;
    4         requiring providers to allow clients to receive
    5         visitors during their admission or residency at the
    6         facility; requiring providers to develop certain
    7         alternative visitation protocols if providers have to
    8         restrict public access to their facilities for health
    9         or safety concerns; requiring providers to allow in
   10         person visits in specified circumstances; authorizing
   11         providers to require visitors to adhere to specified
   12         infection control protocols; authorizing providers to
   13         refuse visitation to a visitor who does not pass a
   14         health screening or refuses to comply with the
   15         provider’s infection control protocols; requiring
   16         providers to submit their visitation policies to the
   17         Agency for Health Care Administration by a specified
   18         date for approval; requiring providers to submit
   19         updated policies within a specified timeframe under
   20         certain circumstances; requiring providers to notify
   21         clients and, if possible, their family members or
   22         caregivers of their visitation rights and provide them
   23         with specified information; requiring the agency to
   24         dedicate a webpage on its website containing specified
   25         information; requiring the agency to investigate a
   26         report of a violation within a specified timeframe;
   27         providing administrative penalties; requiring the
   28         agency to adopt rules; providing an effective date.
   30         WHEREAS, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused great uncertainty
   31  and anxiety across this state and has significantly affected
   32  patients and residents in health care facilities, and
   33         WHEREAS, health care facilities have made great efforts to
   34  keep patients and employees in a safe environment and have
   35  attempted to minimize, to the extent possible, the risk of
   36  spread of COVID-19, and
   37         WHEREAS, these prevention measures have had many unintended
   38  consequences for patients and residents of these facilities who
   39  were not diagnosed with COVID-19, and
   40         WHEREAS, patients and residents of health care facilities
   41  who were not diagnosed with COVID-19 were prohibited from having
   42  any visitors, including a spouse, parent, close family member,
   43  guardian, health care agent, or caregiver, as a result of COVID
   44  19 prevention measures, and
   45         WHEREAS, many families have been unable to be physically
   46  present with their loved ones while they were in a hospital,
   47  long-term care facility, or residential treatment setting for
   48  mental illnesses, developmental or intellectual disabilities, or
   49  substance use disorders, and have been limited to electronic
   50  video communications, if any, and
   51         WHEREAS, the patients and residents affected by these
   52  restrictions include adults, minors, and individuals with
   53  intellectual or developmental disabilities, and
   54         WHEREAS, the Legislature finds that it is in the best
   55  interest of the state and its residents that the patients and
   56  residents of health care facilities be allowed visitation by
   57  visitors of their choosing during their hospitalization or
   58  residential treatment, NOW, THEREFORE,
   60  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   62         Section 1. This act may be cited as the “No Patient Left
   63  Alone Act.”
   64         Section 2. Section 408.823, Florida Statutes, is created to
   65  read:
   66         408.823 Client visitation rights.—
   67         (1)A provider shall allow clients to receive visitors
   68  during their admission to, or residency at, the provider’s
   69  facility in accordance with agency rules.
   70         (2)If circumstances require a provider to restrict public
   71  access to the facility due to health or safety concerns, the
   72  provider must develop alternate visitation protocols that allow
   73  visitation to the greatest extent possible while maintaining
   74  client health and safety.
   75         (3)A provider that admits clients to its facility or
   76  serves clients who are residents in the provider’s facility must
   77  allow in-person visits in all of the following circumstances:
   78         (a)End-of-life situations.
   79         (b)A client who was living with his or her family before
   80  recently being admitted to the provider’s facility is struggling
   81  with the change in environment and lack of physical family
   82  support.
   83         (c)A client is grieving the loss of a friend or family
   84  member who recently died.
   85         (d)A client needs cueing or encouragement to eat or drink
   86  which was previously provided by a family member or caregiver,
   87  and the client is experiencing weight loss or dehydration.
   88         (e)A client who used to talk and interact with others is
   89  experiencing emotional distress, is seldom speaking, or is
   90  crying more frequently than he or she did previously.
   91         (f)Any other circumstance the agency deems appropriate.
   92         (4)To ensure the health and safety of clients, a provider
   93  may require visitors to adhere to infection control protocols,
   94  including passing a health screening and wearing personal
   95  protective equipment while on the premises of the provider’s
   96  facility. A provider may refuse visitation if the visitor does
   97  not pass a health screening or refuses to comply with the
   98  provider’s infection control protocols.
   99         (5)Providers shall submit their visitation policies to the
  100  agency by January 1 each year for approval. If the agency finds
  101  any provision of a provider’s visitation policy deficient or not
  102  in compliance with this section or the agency’s rules, the
  103  provider must submit an updated policy conforming such provision
  104  within 30 days after the agency’s notice.
  105         (6)Providers must notify clients and, if possible, their
  106  family members or caregivers of their visitation rights under
  107  this section and provide them with the contact information for
  108  the agency and the link to the dedicated webpage on the agency’s
  109  website specified in subsection (7).
  110         (7)The agency must dedicate a webpage on its website to
  111  explain visitation rights authorized under this section and
  112  provide a method for individuals to report violations of this
  113  section to the agency. The agency shall investigate a report of
  114  a violation within 30 days after receiving the report.
  115         (8)A violation of this section or the rules adopted
  116  pursuant hereto constitutes a class III violation as specified
  117  in s. 408.813. If a provider does not correct a violation in the
  118  time specified by the agency or repeats a violation, the agency
  119  must impose an administrative fine of at least $500 per
  120  violation. Each occurrence and each day that the violation
  121  continues constitutes a separate violation.
  122         (9)The agency shall adopt rules to implement this section.
  123         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2022.