Governor signs bill requiring visitor access to patients
Watch the bill signing in the player
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Gov. Mike Parson signed a bill into law Thursday that will require health care facilities to let patients have visitors in a reaction to restrictions seen during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill, dubbed the No Patient Left Alone Act, requires all health care facilities to allow patients to have two "compassionate caregiver" visitors during regular visiting hours and outside those hours in certain situations. Health care facilities can place restrictions on children and how many people can visit a patient at a time based on the size of the room.
The bill was a reaction to restrictions hospitals and nursing homes had in place during much of the pandemic. Visitors were prohibited in nursing homes and at some points in hospitals. COVID-19 patients were not allowed to have visitors in most cases.
Health care facilities said the restrictions were needed to curb the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus.
One of the bill's sponsors, Sen. Bill White, R-Joplin, spoke at the bill signing, held Thursday afternoon in the governor's office.
"There's no acceptable reason why you had patients dying without their spouses, without their children, being isolated for periods of time," White said. "It was unacceptable but we came together ... we have the strongest bill, I feel, in the nation."
The House sponsor, Rep. Rusty Black, R-St. Joseph, also spoke at the signing.
The bill takes effect Aug. 28.
Parson also signed six other bills, including those that make changes to school health care for students, remove antiquated language from deeds and streamline the process for public projects.