Sep. 16, 2020

Bill seeks to safely return family members to long-term care facilities to assist with care and support of vulnerable loved ones
HARRISBURG – Legislation sponsored by House Health Committee Majority Chairman Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Crawford/Forest) that would safely allow family members to visit long-term care facilities as essential caregivers for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens was unanimously reported out of the Health Committee today.

“It has been more than six months since our long-term care facilities have been closed to visits from friends and family of the residents,” said Rapp. “Not surprisingly, many of these residents are scared and confused at the changes in their daily life and missing those loved ones who contributed to their routines. My legislation is all about returning the irreplaceable element of family to our long-term care facilities and ending this prolonged separation that is negatively impacting the overall health and well-being of our most vulnerable citizens.”

Mirroring regulations already enacted in Minnesota and Indiana, House Bill 2861 would amend the Pennsylvania Health Care Facilities Act to allow a designated essential family caregiver to be named for each resident of a licensed long-term care facility.

“Other states have already taken the necessary steps to protect the physical health of long-term care residents and also to support their mental health and emotional well-being” said Rapp. “By creating the essential caregiver program, both Indiana and Minnesota established screening protocols and other additional safeguards to allow family members to take an active role in the long-term care and treatment of their loved ones. Now is the time for Pennsylvania do to the same.”

House Bill 2861 now advances to the full House for consideration.

Representative Kathy Rapp
65th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Ty McCauslin
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