Community Leaders Meet With Health Officials to Allow Relatives to Remain With Patients

By Hamodia Staff

NEW YORK — Community leaders met with Dr. John Morley, the New York State Deputy Commissioner of Primary Care and Health Systems Management and Sam Miller, Associate Commissioner for External Affairs,  to explain the difficulty faced by restrictions that some hospitals continue to place for family members to remain bedside of their hospitalized relatives despite the lifting of Covid restrictions months ago.

Shortly after Governor Hochul took office on August 24, 2021, community leaders met with her to discuss the need to allow a family member to remain with a hospitalized patient during their stay. Although a patient has a legal right to have a family member at their bedside, restrictions put in place during Covid suspended that right, and the group that met with the governor explained that the bedside assistant was not there just to bring flowers and good wishes.

“Seventy percent of the needs of a patient are not medical,” a member of the group told Hamodia. “The patient often needs just some personal help, whether going to the bathroom, adjusting their bed or with eating. Having a family member there is a vital part of the recovery process, and we asked the governor to loosen the restrictions once the Covid emergency was lifted and return the legal rights to the patients and their families.

“Hatzalah members described how patients are reluctant to be admitted to the hospital since they are afraid they will be left alone without the company of a relative to oversee their needs and care.”

Governor Hochul had the Health Department issue a memo clarifying that the hospitals may once again allow family members to remain with patients, but several hospitals were still denying them access.

“There was a line in the memo which said that the permission was dependent on the medical evaluation of the hospital staff, and some facilities used this as an excuse to disallow family members to remain in the room with their relative,” a participant in the meeting told Hamodia. “They claimed they were lacking guidance as to who must be allowed to accompany a relative.

“We were getting feedback that the hospital staff did not want others around who may provide oversight of their work. When we met with the deputy commissioner, he expressed his understanding of the issue, and shared with us that he, too, had relatives who were hospitalized during Covid, and he knew what it means to have a family member present in the room. He told us he will attend to it and provide a clear memo guiding the hospitals in this matter.”

The meeting was held in the home of the Satmar Rebbe Harav Aharon Teitlebaum, shlita in Kiryas Joel, with the Satmar Rebbetzin, who has been involved in patient matters for over six decades, serving as hostess and participating in the meeting. Representatives of Hatzalah of Brooklyn, Upstate New York, Kiryas Joel attended, as well as members of various medical referral agencies who have been active in this matter.

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!