New Legislation Updates Laws Related to Hospital Admission and Discharge Practices

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[guest-author: Erin Howard]*

On June 7, 2021, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law Public Act 21-26 “An Act Concerning Various Revisions to the Public Health Statutes” (the “Act”). This Act makes notable changes to laws affecting hospital and health system practices, including the following:

Hospitals Required to Give Patients Option to Contact Family or other Support Personnel Upon Admission

Existing law requires that. upon admitting a patient to a hospital, hospital personnel shall promptly ask the patient if he or she wants the hospital to notify his or her physician. The Act expands this obligation for hospitals by also requiring them to ask if there is any family member, caregiver, or support person who should be notified about the admission. If the patient requests, the hospital personnel must then make reasonable efforts to contact the family member, caregiver, or support person as soon as practicable, but within 24 hours after the request. This requirement takes effect October 1, 2021.

Donation of Blood by 16-Year Olds

Under existing law, an individual seventeen years or older is deemed to have the capacity to consent to donate blood or any component thereof. The Act now allows any person sixteen years of age to consent to donate blood or any component thereof, with written authorization of a parent or guardian. This section became effective July 1, 2021.

Hospital Discharge Plans Can be Provided Electronically

Also effective July 1, 2021, The Act newly allows a hospital to electronically provide a discharge summary and any related materials to a patient upon discharge from the hospital, and to document acknowledgment of receipt of such materials electronically, as long as the patient agrees to electronic-only delivery.

*This post was co-authored by Erin Howard, legal intern at Robinson+Cole. Erin is not yet admitted to practice law.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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