Bill Meant To Prevent Patients Dying Alone Passes Unanimously In House

Image Credit: Deposit Photos / Author: ZaraMuzafarova

The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –

A bill meant to ensure patients are not left alone to die passed the House last week in a unanimous 92 to 0 vote.

House Bill 2665 (HB2665) and companion Senate Bill 2449 (SB2449), a caption bill where the specifics of the proposed legislation is in the amendments, states that a hospital shall not restrict a patient from having at least one patient representative as a visitor during a period when COVID-19 is a healthcare concern, as long as the patient representative agrees to follow all safety protocols established by the hospital. These protocols must be clearly specified in writing and be no more restrictive than protocols applicable to staff of the hospital.

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A similar set of bills, HB2778/SB2169 was taken off notice. Both sets have similar language in their amendments but HB2665/SB2449 expands its reach beyond hospitals. Assisted-care living facilities, homes for the aged, nursing homes, and residential hospices are included. Entities that operate residential congregate living facilities, including, but not limited to, a home that provides care for adults with disabilities or traumatic brain injury, a home that provides residential mental health treatment for children or adults, or an alcohol and drug treatment facility are also covered.


The bill defines “family member” as a spouse, parent, grandparent, stepmother, stepfather, child, grandchild, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, adopted child, or spouse’s parent. And “patient representative” means a family member or another individual, chosen by the patient, to act on their behalf in order to support the patient in decision-making; access medical, social, or other personal information for or from the hospital; manage financial matters; or receive notifications.

Representative Rebecca Alexander (R-Jonesborough-District 7) spoke to The Tennessee Conservative about the passage of the bill saying, “In Tennessee, we recognize the critical importance of family connection. This legislation ensures patients are never again isolated or denied the comfort of their loved ones during life’s most difficult times.”

About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at

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