The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world on its side, and no industry felt its impact like healthcare. In the early days of the pandemic, hospitals and other healthcare facilities tightened its restrictions on visitors to better limit the spread of infection. However, this meant that many patients didn’t have a loved one with them during a tumultuous time.
Now. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill into law that says healthcare facilities must allow visitors even during a public health emergency.
According to 12 WSFA, the Harold Sachs and Anne Roberts Act was written due to people who were unable to visit loved ones who died in the hospital during the height of the pandemic due to federal mandates.
The bill says that healthcare facilities must create policies related to infection control and personal protective equipment that allows for physical contact between a patient and a visitor. However, facilities cannot require proof of vaccination from visitors. Patients would be allowed to appoint a designated caregiver who gets a mandated two-hour visit instead.
“Not allowing visitation was not something we chose to do,” Danne Howard with the Alabama Association told 12 WSFA. “We want visitors. It is important to the overall healthcare for people to be able to have and to see the support systems and their loved ones.”
Alabama’s hospitals and other healthcare facilities are reportedly supportive of the law.
Mackenna Moralez is the associate editor of the facilities market.