CONGRESSMAN VAN DREW, HARRIS INTRODUCES THE NO PATIENT LEFT ALONE ACT
June 30, 2022 — Congressman Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ) and Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD) introduced the No Patient Left Alone Act, legislation that would guarantee a hospital patient’s right to receive visitors and require hospitals to honor this right as a condition of their participation in Medicare.
“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how current federal law does not protect a hospital patient’s right to have a loved one visit during their hospital stay,” said Congressman Van Drew. “I had the honor of meeting with lifelong New Jersey resident, Stephanie Williamson, who sadly lost her husband earlier this year. Because of the hospital’s COVID-19 policy, Stephanie was unable to be with her husband in his final moments. Hospitals should not be allowed to restrict patients from seeing their loved ones in such a dire time. This is why I am proud to introduce the No Patient Left Alone Act along with my fellow GOP Doctors Caucus colleague, Rep. Harris, to protect hospital patient’s visitation rights and ensure that a situation like Stephanie’s never happens again.”
“One of the most heartbreaking COVID-19 era policies was the severe restriction of hospital visitors,” said Congressman Harris. “Unfortunately, we all have heard too many stories of loved ones unable to be by their family’s side in the hospital – including non-COVID patients. In my experience as a physician, I can’t overstate the benefit of having a family member or friend present throughout a patient’s hospital stay. It is unconscionable that the Biden Administration left March 2020 hospital visitation guidance in place with no updates until February 2022 – long after we had tools like vaccines and therapeutics available. Unfortunately, the Administration continues to allow hospitals to severely limit visitors. The No Patient Left Alone Act would codify a patient’s right to receive visitors in the hospital, which would go a long way to prevent those rights from being ignored in the future.”
The No Patient Left Alone Act:
- Requires hospitals to have a written visitation policy, including clinical restrictions or limitations on such rights;
- Requires hospitals to inform patients of their visitation rights;
- Ensures all visitors enjoy full and equal visitation privileges.
Read the full text of the bill here.