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Tennessee Senator Proposes Bill To Prohibit Hospitals From Restricting In-Person Visitation Of Patients

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The Tennessee Conservative Staff –

State Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon-District 17) has introduced a bill that would require hospitals to allow in-person visitation for the entirety of a patient’s hospital stay.

Senate Bill 1641 (SB1641) stipulates that an individual who is “designated to make healthcare decisions” has the right to visit at least once per day with the patient.

The hospital will be allowed to require the designee to submit to “non-invasive health and safety protocols” in order to enter the hospital.

The bill also prohibits hospitals, the governor or governor’s designee, or any individual or entity acting on behalf of the state or a political subdivision of the state from terminating, suspending, waiving, or limiting the visitation, even in the case of the declaration of a disaster or emergency.

State-run hospitals that are designated for mental health treatment are excluded from the legislation.

The Senate Health and Welfare Committee was scheduled to hear the bill in their January 24 meeting; action on the bill was deferred, however, and it is now set on the committee’s January 31 calendar.

The House version of the bill, HB1883, is sponsored by Representative Kip Capley (R-Summertown-District 71). It has not yet been scheduled on a committee calendar.

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