House Bill 242
152nd General Assembly (Present)
If original bill has not been considered in committee, the substitute takes place of original bill. If original bill has been considered in committee, the substitute will be assigned to committee for consideration.
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO HOSPITAL VISITATION POLICY.
This act shall be known as "The No Patient Left Alone Act." It is intended to mitigate unintended negative impacts on patients and their families during a State of Emergency, pandemic, or infectious disease outbreak. This act would require hospitals to allow limited in-person visitation with patients, within designated parameters and limitations in the act. 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 use 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 pursuant to this act. 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 act. Hospitals could be subject to fines for violating the terms of this act, 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. This measure would become effective 180 days after its enactment.
Takes effect upon being signed into law