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NC lawmakers approve bill guaranteeing patient family, clergy visits during emergencies like pandemic

NC lawmakers approve bill guaranteeing patient family, clergy visits during emergencies like pandemic
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North Carolina lawmakers in the state House and Senate approved bills on Wednesday guaranteeing a patient’s family members and clergy are allowed to visit during emergencies like a pandemic.

The Senate’s bill was called “No Patient Left Behind” and was passed in a 40-9 vote, the Associated Press reported.

The bill outlines warnings and fines that will be given to health care facilities, hospice care, residential treatment facilities and nursing homes if they do not allow family members or clergy in to see patients during emergency times.

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The facilities must go off guidance from the Medicaid and Medicare rules on what extent visitors are allowed during emergencies, according to AP.

If a healthcare facility refuses to let visitors in, they would receive a warning and then a $500 fine.

The House passed a similar bill in a 98-19 vote. The bill calls for hospitals to allow a clergy member to visit if a patient asks for one.

The clergy member could be required to go through health screenings before allowing the visit, AP noted.

The bills were inspired by situations across the country where those dying of COVID-19 were not allowed any visitors.

Many were not allowed to see a clergy member or family before they passed away due to strict healthcare facility guidelines that were meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Rules have loosened at many healthcare facilities as cases have gone done in the U.S. and more than half the country has been vaccinated.