Requires health care facilities to adopt visitation policies which prohibit vaccination requirements for visitors, unaffected by emergency orders

State: AL
Bill Number: SB 113
Position: SUPPORT
Action Required: NONE
Status: ENACTED,Signed by Governor Kay Ivey 4/18/2023, effective 4/18/2023, Act No. 2023-24;

Legislation Details:

UPDATE: 5/27/2023 - SB 113 was assigned Act No. 2023-24

UPDATE 4/18/2023 - SB 113 was enacted. It was signed by Governor Kay Ivey on 4/18/2023. The bill's provisions become effective immediately. Health care facilities have 30 days to establish visitation policies and procedures.

UPDATE 4/11/2023 - SB 113 was returned to the Senate which passed the House amended version on 4/11/2023 by a vote of 31 Yes, 0 No. It was enrolled. 

UPDATE 4/6/2023 - SB 113 was amended in the House to grant clergy members visitation the same rights as an essential caregiver. The amended version passed the Full House on 4/6/2023 by a vote of 100 Yes, 1 No, 4 Abstain. The amendment does not change NVIC's position. 

UPDATE 4/5/2023 - SB 113 passed the House Health Committee on 4/5/2023. 

UPDATE 3/23/2023 - SB 113 was amended in the Full Senate and passed by a vote of 33 Yes, 0 No. It was referred to the House Health Committee on 3/23/2023. The amendments primarily changed the "provider" to "facility" in the text of the bill and made no substantial changes.

UPDATE 3/22/2023 - SB 113 passed the Senate Healthcare Committee on 3/22/2023. 

SB 113 was introduced and referred to the Senate Healthcare Committee on 3/21/2023. It is sponsored by Senator Garlan Gudger, with Senators Roberts, Waggoner, Barfoot, Elliott, Williams, Chambliss, Kelley, Hovey, Sessions, Stutts, Bell, Albritton, Shelnutt, Melson, Livingston, Scofield, Reed, Weaver, Givhan, Allen, Butler, Jones, Orr, Chesteen, Price, and Carnley cosponsoring. 

SB 113 requires health care facilities to develop visitation policies. One component of that is that safety-related policies and procedures may not be more stringent than those established for the provider's staff and may not require visitors to submit proof of any vaccination or immunization.

SB 113 would also require health care facilities to adopt certain visitation policies:

  • to provide that patients have a right to certain visitation; 
  • to allow patients to designate an essential caregiver and to guarantee that caregiver certain visitation rights; 
  • to prohibit a health care facility from adopting a visitation policy that is more stringent than certain employee policies; 
  • to prohibit a health care facility from requiring visitors to show proof of vaccination or from prohibiting consensual physical contact between visitors and patients;
  •  to provide for the circumstances in which patients may not be denied visitors; 
  • to require health care facilities to provide visitation policies to the Department of Public Health; 
  • to require the Department of Public Health to develop a mechanism for complaints; 
  • to prohibit any suspension or modification by emergency rule or order; and 
  • to repeal Sections 22-21-430 through 22-21-436, Code of Alabama 1975, relating to hospital visitation during a public health emergency.
  • exempt health care facilities designated to psychiatric care and certain areas of any health care facility, provided the area is designated to psychiatric care, from visitation requirements.

The text of the bill can be viewed here. If the bill passes, it would be come effective immediately following its passage and approval by the Governor.

SB 113 could be improved by adding penalties for health care facilities that do not comply. NVIC recommends the removal of state licensing for facilities who refuse to enact these provisions. 

NVIC supports these above sections of SB 113, but does not take a position on the sections that do not relate to vaccines. However, the bill addresses many areas of outside of our scope that are important to our supporters.

This bill is similar to HB 151, but there are a few minor differences. SB 113 exempts psychiatric care facilities from visitation requirements. - text of SB 113. For status, and history, Click here and enter "113" in the "Quick Search" field at the top right and click "Search Bills."