HARRISBURG – Rep. Gary W. Day (R-Lehigh/Berks) chairman of the House Aging and Older Adults Services Committee, announced the unanimous passage of House Bill 996
which seeks to provide access to members of the clergy to long-term care facilities during a disaster emergency.
“After 15 months of this disaster emergency, it is long past time we begin protecting individuals’ religious liberties,” said Day. “This bill will provide that members of the clergy are permitted to access long-term care facilities once they have met the Department of Health’s safety qualifications and protocols. This resumes a bit of normalcy to the lives of those living in our long-term care facilities, who have gone without the opportunity to meet with their religious leaders for this long. I look forward to seeing the passage of this bill, so that we can offer some sense of relief to our seniors who have felt abandoned in these facilities.”
House Bill 996, sponsored by Rep. Eric Davanzo (R-Westmoreland), seeks to create the Religious Liberty in Long-Term Care Facilities Act. The act requires the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) to establish protocols for members of clergy to have access to long-term care facilities during a disaster emergency.
The resident or an individual who has decision-making authority for the resident may request visitation by a member of the clergy during a disaster emergency. Members of the clergy visiting the facility must meet the necessary qualifications and protocols established by DOH.
The bill now goes onto the full House for consideration.
Representative Gary Day
187th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Matthew Deegan