Gallagher Introduces Bill to Safeguard Patient Visitation Rights

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher (Yuba City) has introduced AB 2549, the Patient Visitation Rights Act, to address the crucial issue of family visitation rights in health facilities and to ensure safe visitation practices during pandemic events.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of visitation in patient recovery, comfort, and healing was widely recognized. Flexible visiting hours reduce patient anxiety and delirium, while visitors and care partners play a vital role in patient care by assisting with decision-making and discharge planning. However, during the pandemic, many facilities imposed strict limitations on in-person visitation, isolating patients from their loved ones during critical moments. AB 2549 seeks to avoid similar situations by recognizing the importance of visitation while maintaining patient safety.
“We got this wrong during the pandemic. AB 2549 codifies the essential rights of patients and their families, ensuring visitation rights so Californians can stay connected with their loved ones during a health crisis. Isolation kills too, and no one should have to die alone,” said Gallagher.
At least eight other states have laws safeguarding visitation rights.  Building upon existing law, which requires health facilities to allow a patient’s domestic partner to visit, AB 2549 expands visitation rights to include specific immediate family members, such as children, grandchildren, and parents. Additionally, the bill ensures that in-person visitation is accommodated in end-of-life situations and mandates that visitation protocols be designed to allow visitation to the fullest extent feasible while maintaining the health and safety of clients.