Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Senate passes bill adding ministers to approved visitor list during health emergencies

Bergstrom additions to ‘No Patient Left Alone Act’ passes Senate

 OKLAHOMA CITY –  The full Senate gave approval to Senate Bill 1096 on Tuesday to add pastors, ministers, spiritual advisors and other religious leaders to the approved list of visitors for patients hospitalized during a declared health emergency.

The measure modifies House Bill 2687, also known as the No Patient Left Alone Act, which was signed into law last spring and allows patients to designate a guest to have unrestricted visitation regardless of an emergency declaration by the governor or Legislature. The measure was a response to the strict medical facility lockdowns during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when positive patients were unable to have a support person advocate for them during their stay.

“I can’t imagine the heartbreak so many Oklahomans faced when they were unable to be with their loved ones during their greatest time of need,” said Senate author Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair. “I fully believe that patient care is enhanced, as is mental health and general well-being, when a patient advocate is present, which is typically a family member or close friend. That’s why we passed the No Patient Left Alone Act last year. This legislation will build upon that measure by allowing pastors, ministers or other faith leaders to be there for those hospitalized and seeking spiritual comfort during a health emergency.”

SB 1096 does not modify other provisions and safety protocols included in the No Patient Left Alone Act, and all visitors would still be required to follow hospital rules, including any personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration, where Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, R-Elgin, will carry the measure.  


Post a Comment

PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR NAME when commenting. Anonymous comments may be rejected if NOT accompanied by a name.

Comments are welcome, but remember - commenting on my blog is a privilege. Do not abuse that privilege, or your comment will be deleted.

Thank you for joining in the discussion at! Your opinion is appreciated!