HB 702 will prolong mask wearing and visitation limitations in healthcare facilities | Columnists | #healthcare | #elderly | #seniors
First, do no harm. Those simple words guide the steady hand of physicians, nurses, caregivers and others that care for those in need of healthcare services. These words are sacred to all who provide healing and care for the sick and vulnerable.
Unfortunately, some in the Montana Legislature have voted to strip away the ability of nursing homes, hospitals, home health and hospice agencies, health clinics and physician practices, among others, from protecting patients, workers and visitors from highly infectious diseases. House Bill 702, which passed the Senate and will be considered by the House once again, prohibits the entire healthcare field from using long-held practices aimed at limiting the introduction of highly infectious diseases into healthcare environments. HB 702 flies in the face of reasonable standards of care. Now is not the time for lawmakers to add barriers to our ability to keep patients safe.
Current medical guidance and federal rules determine how healthcare organizations approach infection prevention in the healthcare setting for diseases like, hepatitis B, MMR, Varicella (chickenpox), DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis), and Meningococcal. Why is this important? Healthcare workers are at risk for exposure to serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases. Protecting employees, patients, and community members by confirming vaccine status should remain an option for healthcare facilities.