Hauter bill to aid ER patients passes House committee

Patients admitted to emergency rooms during times of disaster or epidemic will have the opportunity to have a medical advocate alongside them under a bill sponsored by Rep. Bill Hauter (R-Morton) which passed the House Human Services committee today.

House Bill 3503 applies to medical advocates who are present with the patient for the purpose of communication, care, consent and advocacy on the patient’s behalf. The advocate’s presence will still be subject to the emergency department’s policies and guidelines set by the federal Centers for Disease Control.

The legislation came about following the COVID-19 pandemic when some patients in emergency rooms were unable to communicate their conditions and were not allowed to have an advocate with them to communicate or act on their behalf. In some cases the advocate could be a close family member who arrived at the hospital with the patient with direct knowledge of the patient’s condition and who could give consent for medical treatment.

HB 3503 passed committee by a unanimous 9-0 vote. It now goes to the full House for consideration.