OKLAHOMA CITY (KNWA/KFTA) — A bill that would require long-term care facilities to allow visitation to family members of residents passed the Oklahoma House last night in a 73-19 vote.
House Bill 1677, authored by Rep. Marilyn Stark, R-Bethany, states that long-term care facilities and assisted living facilities must allow each resident to designate one or more “compassionate caregivers”, granting them in-person visits.
“Isolation and depressions is a very real threat to our elderly Oklahomans, many of whom haven’t seen their loved ones since the pandemic began a year ago,” Stark said. “I hope House Bill 1677 will give some peace of mind to Oklahomans who are worried about their loved ones in long term care and assisted living facilities, ensuring their right to see their loved ones.”
American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Oklahoma State President Joe Ann Vermillion said the organization was supportive of HB1677.
HB1677 requires that compassionate caregivers comply with reasonable precautions, or they may have their status revoked if they refuse, but visitation cannot be eliminated altogether.
The bill is currently awaiting a vote in the state Senate.