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New York Releases Guidelines for Hospital Visitation Pilot Program

by Reuvain Borchardt – Hamodia

New York State has added four hospitals to the pilot visitation program, and released detailed guidelines for the program, set to begin Tuesday and run for two weeks.

Following advocacy from citystate and federal elected officials, and community leaders, Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this week announced a pilot program to allow hospital visitation, which had been mostly banned since March in an effort to limit transmission of the coronavirus. The initial announcement included 16 hospitals; four more have now been added, including the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Hospital for Special Surgery, Interfaith Medical Center and Richmond University Medical Center in Staten Island.

Under the program, set to begin by next Tuesday, the day after Memorial Day, patients will be allowed one visitor at a time, for a total of no more than four hours per day, unless a hospital chooses to allow a patient to have more than one visitor. Visitors must be at least 18 years old, unless the hospital chooses to make an exception.

Patients undergoing outpatient procedures may be accompanied by a companion through the initial intake process.

Visitors will be provided, and must wear, personal protective equipment; undergo temperature checks, and be removed if their temperature exceeds 100.0 degrees; and remain in the patient’s room throughout the visit.

Hospitals may choose to end their participating in the pilot visitation program at any time.

New York elected officials who advocated for hospital visitation applauded release of the guidelines.

“Everyone deserves comfort and companionship on the road to recovery,” U.S. Rep. Max Rose told Hamodia on Thursday, and said he looks forward to all hospitals being able to “safely accept Compassionate Companions in the near future.”

Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein told Hamodia on Thursday that release of the guidelines “is a great first step toward making sure that all patients suffering in a hospital have the basic care they deserve and their family by their side in their most painful time.” But Eichenstein also said he will continue to advocate for the no-visitors policy “to be revisited in it’s entirety.”

Further information about the pilot program is available here

A complete list of the guidelines is available here

Below is a complete list of participating hospitals.