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TALLAHASSEE, Florida (LifeSiteNews) – Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis took to social media Tuesday to highlight a law he signed earlier this year that will ensure residents of the Sunshine State can visit loved ones in hospitals, regardless of restrictions such as those that swept the United States in 2020 over COVID-19.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, SB 988, the No Patient Left Alone Act, requires health facilities to allow in-person visitation for consenting patients in hospitals as well as cases at other types of facilities involving children, end-of-life situation, childbirth, emotional distress, encouragement to eat or drink, encouragement to communicate, a patient struggling with changes in environment or lack of family support, or major medical decision-making.
“Additionally, the bill allows a resident, client, or patient the option to designate a visitor who is a family member, friend, guardian, or other individual as an essential caregiver,” the governor’s office added. “The provider must allow in-person visitation by the essential caregiver for at least two hours daily in addition to any other visitation authorized by the provider.”
The press release explained that the law was necessary to prevent the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from allowing hospitals in the state to continue forbidding visitors to patients.
Under our new law, never again will Florida families be denied the right to visit a loved one in the hospital.
This is now the way of the land. pic.twitter.com/vuxQacO0px
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) July 5, 2022
“Throughout the pandemic, the federal government has waived protections for families to visit their loved ones in hospitals and long-term care facilities. That is unacceptable,” DeSantis said at the time. “Here in Florida, we recognize that family and human connection is one of the most important aspects of physical, mental, and emotional well-being and we are ensuring Floridians are never again denied the right to see their relatives and friends while in hospitals or nursing homes.”
“It is wonderful to see the rights of hospital and nursing home patients protected and signed into law,” First Lady Casey DeSantis added. “Patients shouldn’t be denied the right to see their loved ones, especially during life’s difficult moments. Thank you to Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for prioritizing this important issue. Hopefully, this law will bring much peace, comfort, and clarity to Floridians.”
DeSantis has aggressively worked to establish a record of conservative results on an array of issues, most recently pertaining to protecting children from left-wing propaganda in public schools and life-altering gender “reassignment” procedures.
In 2020, he established himself as a national leader on COVID-19, largely rejecting lockdowns in favor of more targeted protection of vulnerable residents that resulted in Florida largely evading the economic harms of lockdowns while seeing COVID outcomes as good or better than comparable populations that pursued far more restrictive measures. Since then, DeSantis has opposed mask mandates, vaccine mandates, local restrictions, and school closings, and supported alternative treatment options.
DeSantis did, however, disappoint some conservatives in February by extending liability protections for doctors who follow federal COVID guidelines, which critics say could let establishment-minded providers evade accountability for the harm of practices and products such as early treatment denial, remdesivir, or the COVID vaccines. He paired the move with new guidance protecting doctors’ rights to dissent from establishment guidelines, which largely satisfied conservatives.
DeSantis’ overall record has generated substantial interest in him as a potential Republican candidate for president in 2024.