The current visitation rights for patients in Oklahoma hospitals who are suffering from COVID-19 could be changing sometime soon. At this time patients have very restrictive visitation rights and in most cases are only permitted one person who is allowed to visit throughout the entire hospitalization. An Oklahoma lawmaker is seeking to revise the visitation rights and COVID-19 regulations at hospitals across the state.

Oklahoma State Representative Cynthis Roe (R-Lindsay) has introduced a bill that would require hospitals to allow full visitation rights to patients who have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 even if those patients are in isolation. The new House Bill (HB-1333) not only requires hospitals to revise their current visitation policies as it relates to COVID-19  patients but also allows lawsuits against anyone who denied visitation as well. If the new bill passes it would go into effect immediately. Click here to read House Bill (HB-1333).

Oklahoma did pass the "No patient left behind" act a while back that addressed some of the concerns about visitation but without any way to enforce it a lot of hospitals and healthcare clinics have completely ignored it. This new legislation (HB-1333) would strengthen the act and provide greater rights to both patients and families and allow access and visitation to those who have been hospitalized due to COVID-19.

Nothing in the bill would keep hospitals from issuing safety policies for visitors such as health screenings and mask mandates. However, any hospital or individual who isolates a patient and does not allow visitation would be subject to lawsuits and be in violation of Oklahoma state law. The author of the bill is a registered nurse who has worked in the health care profession. Cynthia Roe has been an RN for 39 years and a nurse practitioner for 22 years so she knows healthcare, hospital regulations, and patient needs.

The new bill (HB-1333) will be available for consideration in the upcoming legislative session which starts this upcoming Monday, February 7th (02-07-22). This will hopefully help Oklahoma families and even friends of patients who are in the hospital recovering from COVID-19. Can you imagine not being able to see your family and friends, or being denied visitation with a loved one or close friend who's in the hospital all alone?

I hope the bill passes. What are your thoughts do you agree or disagree with (HB-1333)?

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