Digital Media Center
Bryant-Denny Stadium, Gate 61
920 Paul Bryant Drive
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0370
(800) 654-4262

© 2024 Alabama Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Register for Glenn Miller Tickets in Mobile on May 30.

Alabama lawmakers advance hospital visitation protections


Alabama lawmakers on Thursday advanced legislation requiring hospitals and nursing homes to allow in-person visits, even during a pandemic.

The Alabama Senate approved the bill on a 33-0 vote after members shared stories of people being separated from loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill now moves to the Alabama House of Representatives. Lawmakers in several other states have also moved to limit restrictions on visitations such as those imposed during the pandemic.

The bill's sponsor Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, said he introduced the bill after constituent Bonnie Sachs approached him at her husband's funeral and described how she was unable to see her husband of 50 years before he died because of visitation restrictions. Lawmakers approved a bill two years ago, but Gudger said that did not go as far as they wanted.

Under the Senate-passed bill, patients would designate an essential caregiver who would be allowed two hours of daily visitation. It would also require facilities to allow visitation for end-of-life situations, childbirth, pediatric patients, and when patients need additional support for things like making major decisions or help with eating and drinking.

The legislation additionally says a facility's visitation policies cannot be more stringent than the safety rules applied to the facility’s staff and may not require proof of any vaccination or immunization.

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.
News from Alabama Public Radio is a public service in association with the University of Alabama. We depend on your help to keep our programming on the air and online. Please consider supporting the news you rely on with a donation today. Every contribution, no matter the size, propels our vital coverage. Thank you.