Title 23
Health and Safety

Chapter 17
Licensing of Healthcare Facilities

R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-17-19.3

§ 23-17-19.3. Patients’ visitation rights.

(a) All health care providers as licensed under the provisions of chapter 29 or 37 of title 5 and all health care facilities as defined in § 23-17-2 shall be required to note in their patients’ permanent medical records the name of individual(s) not legally related by blood or marriage to the patient who the patient wishes to be considered as immediate family member(s), for the purpose of granting extended visitation rights to the individual(s), so the individual(s) may visit the patient while he or she is receiving inpatient health care services in a health care facility.

(b) A patient choosing to designate individual(s) as immediate family members for the purpose of extending visitation rights may choose up to five (5) individuals and do so either verbally or in writing. This designation shall be made only by the patient and can be initiated and/or rescinded by the patient at any time, either prior to, during, or subsequent to an inpatient stay at the health care facility.

(c) The full names of designated individual(s), along with their relationship to the patient, shall be recorded in the patient’s permanent medical records, both at the inpatient health care facility and with the patient’s primary care physician.

(d) In the event the patient has not had the opportunity to have this designation recorded in his or her medical records, a signed statement in the patient’s own handwriting attesting to the designation of the individual(s) as an immediate family member for the purpose of extending visitation rights during the provision of health care services in an inpatient health care facility, along with their relationship to the individual(s) shall meet all the requirements of this chapter. The patient’s signature on a signed statement shall be witnessed by two (2) individuals, neither of whom can be the designated individual(s). In the event a signed statement is not available, those designated as agents on a durable power of attorney for health care form shall be allowed visitation privileges.

(e) This chapter shall not be construed to prohibit legally recognized members of the patient’s family from visiting the patient if they have not been so designated through the provisions of this chapter. No patient shall be required to designate individual(s) under the provisions of this chapter.

History of Section.
P.L. 1998, ch. 335, § 1.