“Highlights with Hegeman” for the Week of July 11: Helping Families in Time of Crisis

We are still learning lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. In life, part of learning includes how not to do things. Sometimes, learning from one’s mistakes can be the best way to learn how to move forward.

House Bill 2116 was signed into law on June 30. This legislation is better-known as the “No Patient Left Behind Act.” This new law allows patients or residents in licensed health care facilities to have in-person contact with a compassionate care visitor throughout the duration of their stay. We saw a lot of hospitals restrict visitors over the past two years, especially during the first year of the pandemic. Unfortunately, this meant loved ones being forbidden from seeing someone a final time before their death.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for those with loved ones in nursing homes and hospitals who have had to suffer through their ailments by themselves. In signing this bill, the governor has committed to helping the Legislature further-protect patients’ rights and ensure they always have the support they need. This new law also permits compassionate care visitations to help meet the physical, emotional, mental and social needs of the resident or patient in the health care facility.

The Missouri General Assembly had to walk a fine line to craft this legislation. Hospitals and nursing homes need to be able to accomplish their regular tasks without hindrance. At the same time, a lot of us in the Legislature heard from our constituents, who told us to eliminate the barriers that kept them from being with loved ones during difficult times. I believe HB 2116 struck the necessary balance that gives health care facilities the flexibility they need while allowing people the freedom they need to move through their lives, in bad times as well as good.

As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is dan.hegeman@senate.mo.gov and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.