Bill To Prohibit Hospitals From Restricting In-Person Visits Passes Tennessee Senate

Image: Senator Mark Pody Image Credit:

The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –

A bill that would prohibit hospitals from restricting in-person visitation of patients passed in the Tennessee Senate yesterday afternoon. Twenty-nine senators voted for Senator Mark Pody’s bill – all of the Republican senators and two Democrats – and three Democrats voted No.

Senate Bill 1641 (SB1641) would guarantee that someone with Power of Attorney over a patient has the right to visit at least once a day for at least an hour for the entirety of the patient’s stay. Pody (R-Lebanon-District 17), verified that such a person would have this right even during a “declared emergency.”

A third and final Amendment that makes the bill was added before the vote which stipulates that those making visits must submit to “non-invasive health and safety protocols” put in place by hospitals.

Pody said that he had worked with the Tennessee Hospital Association on the amendment which does not force anyone visiting to get a vaccine in order to be allowed inside the hospital, but may require them to be masked, or wear of gown, or possibly spend the visit on the other side of a piece of glass.

The House version of the bill, House Bill 1883 (HB1883) sponsored by Representative Kip Capley (R-Summertown-District 71), has yet to make any real headway. Assigned to the House Health Subcommittee on January 30th, 2024, it has yet to be put on the calendar. 

Last year, Governor Bill Lee signed legislation that prevents individuals from being left to die alone in medical facilities within the state. According to that new law, during times when COVID-19 is a concern, medical care facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes, can no longer restrict patients from having at least one family member or patient representative present, providing the visitor does not test positive for COVID-19 and is not showing any symptoms of any communicable disease.

That law, along with Pody’s bill, are an attempt to guarantee patients’ rights after Tennesseans watched loved ones suffer and perish in hospitals and nursing homes across the state alone.

Two years in a row, Representative Todd Warner (R-Chapel Hill-District 92) introduced a more comprehensive bill guaranteeing those rights but was met with opposition.

In 2022, his bill died in the House Health Subcommittee, led by then Chair and former Representative Bob Ramsey. Tennesseans who showed up to support the bill were denied the opportunity to do so.

One of the people waiting to give their testimony to lawmakers was Alysha Rodriguez who took her 36-year-old, active, fit husband to the emergency room when he began having trouble breathing. Despite having medical Power of Attorney, she was not allowed to stay with her husband or advocate for him. Sadly, he died after a nine day stay.

Then in 2023, Warner reintroduced his bill, and had it assigned to the House Health subcommittee, but it was never put on the calendar the whole of the session. The bill was brought back one more time at the beginning of the 2024 general session but was withdrawn February 1st, 2024.

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

You can reach Paula at

4 thoughts on “Bill To Prohibit Hospitals From Restricting In-Person Visits Passes Tennessee Senate

  • February 13, 2024 at 8:23 pm

    Do we need to contact the House Health subcommittee?

  • February 14, 2024 at 12:25 am

    As a retired RN, I can tell you this bill is CRAP! One hour of visitation time? Visit through a piece of glass… really? Give me a break! Make no mistake, this bill still leaves the healthcare system in charge and you and your loved one without rights.

    • February 22, 2024 at 2:13 am

      LOVE !!! 🙂

  • February 14, 2024 at 3:14 am

    Thanks Senator Pody. We need to address many issues like this with our local hospitals since they are violating our constitutional rights daily. They are illegally going through a patent’s belonging and pulling out things they brought with them to the hospital with no probable cause. If they don’t dispense a certain medication the patient takes regularly they just don’t give it to them when they are supposed to allow that person to give it to the nurse to give it back to them as prescribed. For no reason other than the patient confronting them about a violation of their rights, they are putting patients in isolation or “hospital jail” which is under guard 24 hours a day by a tech. That tech will not allow them to use the bathroom unless they go in there with them and watch over them like a junk yard dog fights over a bone. Things go missing from a person’s room and when you report it to the nurse they get mad at you and refuse to act upon it. The amount of patient abuse, especially against seniors is outrageous and needs to be addressed in a patents bill of rights! If you have ever reported a violation to their management it is nothing more than a kangaroo court! If you take it to the Dept of Health you get noting more than a call and they tell you that they have no jurisdiction over the hospital or the doctors which is a bold faced lie. This list of violations of the patents rights is so extensive that it would take a book larger than War and Peace to list them all. Thanks again Mark for thinking about your constituents! God bless


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