Bill setting NC nursing home visit standards gets final OK

August 31, 2021 GMT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina health regulators would establish by next year visitation policies for nursing homes and adult care homes for declared emergencies like a pandemic in legislation heading to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk.

The bill, which received final legislative approval on Tuesday by the House after a Senate vote last week, tells the state Department of Health and Human Services to create visitation protocols for declared emergencies and implement them by next June.

The statewide protocols would allow each resident to receive a visit at least twice per month from one preapproved visitor or preapproved alternate visitor. But visitations during an emergency would still be subject to directives from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The bill is a response to visitation bans last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill is named for a long-term care resident who had only one outside visitor during a year.

The General Assembly also has been debating pending legislation that would ensure visitations for hospital patients during an emergency and that a patient could meet a member of the clergy if the person chooses.