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Legislative brief: Bill protecting long-term care visits passes committee

The Shawnee News-Star
Exterior of the Oklahoma Capitol building Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021.

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Chad Caldwell, R-Enid, today successfully ushered a bill through committee that will protect the rights of long-term care residents, allowing them visits by friends and family members and care by outside health care providers.

House Bill 2566 ensures visitation and health care serves contracted through the long-term care facilities are provided in a safe manner in accordance with State Department of Health and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Guidelines.

“During COVID, so many adults in our long-term care facilities went for extended periods without being allowed visitors or care from outside health practitioners,” Caldwell said. “Some are still being denied this opportunity. This is not good for either their health or mental health. This bill balances the rights of the residents and their family members while also providing protections and control of protocol for these facilities.”

Caldwell said the bill was written with input from industry groups and senior citizen advocates. He said currently the Department of Health and CMS have said it is OK for visits to occur but there are cases where long-term care facilities still are blocking such actions. This measure will remedy those situations. If the Department of Health or CMS should determine such visits are unsafe, they would be suspended.

HB 2566 passed the House Health Services and Long-Term Care Committee with a vote of 4-1. It now is eligible to be considered by the full House.