Visits for Long-Term Care Residents Addressed in Legislation

Mike Seals - March 9, 2021 10:42 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Chad Caldwell, R-Enid, today successfully passed a bill 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 services contracted through the long-term care facilities are provided in a safe manner in accordance with Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Guidelines.

“Residents in some of our long-term care facilities have gone for almost a year without visits from friends or loved ones or even from outside health practitioners,” Caldwell said. “This is in spite of CMS guidelines that say such visits can be restored. This has robbed these residents of care and support and impaired their mental health.”

Caldwell said the bill balances the rights of long-term care residents and their family members while also providing protections and control of protocol for the facilities. The bill was drafted in consultation with industry associations and senior care advocates.

The bill passed on the same day Gov. Kevin Stitt and state Health Commissioner Lance Frye announced the state is updating its visitation guidelines to allow visitors who have completed state-certified essential care training to visit their loved one.

“The Governor’s order today is a huge step in the right direction,” Caldwell said, “but this bill goes a step further ensuring that unless CMS or OSDH explicitly prohibit visitation or access by outside health care agencies, long-term care facilities must allow access for their residents. This is simply a protection of the residents’ rights.”

The measure passed the House with a vote of 95-1. It now is eligible to be considered by the Senate.


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