Mercy Health Love County - News

'No Patient Left Alone' Law Effective November 1, 2021

Posted on Thursday, October 28th, 2021

New Oklahoma Law Permits a Patient To Have
At Least One Visitor While in the Hospital

November 1, 2021, is the effective date of a new Oklahoma law that will allow hospital patients (minors or adults) to designate a visitor to have unrestricted visitation regardless of emergency declarations. House Bill 2687, titled the "No Patient Left Alone Act," was signed into law on May 13, 2021, by Governor Kevin Stitt after both houses of the Oklahoma Legislature approved. 

For a minor child, the visitor may be a parent or guardian. An adult patient has the right to designate a spouse, family member, or care giver who may be present while the patient is receiving hospital care.

The act was authored by Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, R-Elgin. She said she filed the legislation after hearing from constituents whose loved ones were not allowed to have a visitor during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release from the state legislature. 

The bill prohibits termination, suspension or waiver of visitation by the hospital, state Department of Health, or any governmental entity regardless of declarations of emergency by the governor or Legislature.

HB 2687 allows for certain restrictions by the hospital. For example the hospital may limit visitation by policy when the presence of a visitor is medically or therapeutically contraindicated, or the presence of the visitor interferes with the care or rights of other patients, or the visitor is engaging in disruptive or violent behavior, or is non-compliant with hospital policy. 

The bill requires hospitals to post materials about the patients' rights in the act in a prominent place. On October 26, 2021, the Oklahoma State Department of Health issued a notice summarizing the Hospital Visitation legislation. It is posted below: