A new Florida health law passed by the Florida Legislature requires healthcare facilities and physician offices to allow patients to bring a person to their appointment. Florida law CS/HB 1253 changes the existing Patient Bill of Rights to give to each patient the right to bring to the “patient accessible areas” of a doctor’s office any person the patient chooses. There is an exception for the new provision, which applies if bringing the person would “risk the health of the patient, other patients, or staff” of the office IF that can’t be reasonably accommodated. Oh boy! The provision is reminiscent of the access (and confusion) created by the ADA‘s applicability to physician offices for hearing and visually impaired patients.
Physicians will need to implement new policies to deal with the expansion of patients’ rights, since failing to comply can form the basis for a lawsuit.