AL Senate passes health care facilities visitation legislation

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, introduced Senate Bill 113 this week to protect and enhance the visitation requirements for patients, clients or residents of health care facilities. The bill passed committee on Wednesday, March 22, and passed the Senate today as amended, March 23, with a vote of 33-0.

The legislation was in response to visitation restrictions that were in place during the height of the  COVID-19 pandemic.

“In 2021, we passed a bill to strengthen patient-visitor access, but over the last two years, I’ve continued to receive countless phone calls from Alabamians that weren’t able to be by their loved one’s side during their final days,” said Gudger. “The law hasn’t worked as intended, so this year, we’re enhancing the legislation to further protect visitor access and allow our citizens to be in health care facilities, with their families, when they need it most, whether it be the birth of a child, sickness and more so the end of life.”

This bill would provide that residents, clients or patients of a health care facility have the right to visit with any individual of their choosing during the facility’s visiting hours, and it allows essential caregivers at least two hours of daily visitation.

Additionally, this legislation would require that any safety-related policies or procedures may not be more stringent than those established for the health care facility’s staff, and it prohibits a health care facility from requiring visitors to submit proof of vaccination or from prohibiting consensual physical contact between a visitor and a resident, client or patient.

Finally, this bill would require each health care facility to provide its visitation policies and procedures to the Department of Public Health when applying for licensure, renewal or change of ownership, and would require the Department of Public Health to dedicate a page on its website to explain visitation requirements and provide a mechanism for complaints.

For more information or questions for Gudger, contact Hope Brasell at