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DeSantis signs 'No Patient Left Alone Act' into law

The bill ensures that people will still be able to visit loved ones in hospitals, long term care facilities even during an emergency.

NAPLES, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday signed the "No Patient Left Alone Act" into law, a piece of legislation that allows visits to healthcare facilities even during emergencies. 

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, hospitals and long-term care facilities began banning visitors as a precaution. That's something the governor called "heartbreaking."

"Yes, I understand [hospitals] are trying to mitigate COVID, and that's important, but you can't just shut out all these human interactions for people who are in the hospital," DeSantis said during a news conference in Naples before signing the bill. 

The legislation (SB 988) requires health care providers to allow visitors during end-of-life situations, labor and delivery, as well as times when patients need help drinking or eating from a family member or caregiver. The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) can also determine which other scenarios are appropriate.

Healthcare facilities can still require health and safety protocols like personal protective equipment. Health care providers must also update their visitation policies to AHCA at the start of every year. 

The law will go into effect on July 1. Read more about the newly signed bill here.

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