SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1678        FILED ON: 1/18/2019

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1276


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Patricia D. Jehlen


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act ensuring safe patient access to emergency care.







Patricia D. Jehlen

Second Middlesex


Theodore C. Speliotis

13th Essex


Bradley H. Jones, Jr.

20th Middlesex


Marjorie C. Decker

25th Middlesex


Mike Connolly

26th Middlesex


Mark C. Montigny

Second Bristol and Plymouth


Tram T. Nguyen

18th Essex


Natalie M. Higgins

4th Worcester


Kay Khan

11th Middlesex


Rebecca L. Rausch

Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex


Colleen M. Garry

36th Middlesex


Brendan P. Crighton

Third Essex


Lindsay N. Sabadosa

1st Hampshire


Paul Brodeur

32nd Middlesex


Michael O. Moore

Second Worcester


Sal N. DiDomenico

Middlesex and Suffolk


SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1678        FILED ON: 1/18/2019

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1276

By Ms. Jehlen, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 1276) of Patricia D. Jehlen, Theodore C. Speliotis, Bradley H. Jones, Jr., Marjorie C. Decker and other members of the General Court for legislation to ensure safe patient access to emergency care.  Public Health.


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the One Hundred and Ninety-First General Court



An Act ensuring safe patient access to emergency care.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. This act may be referred to as Laura’s Law, after Laura Beth Levis.

SECTION 2. The department of public health shall promulgate regulations to require all hospitals in the Commonwealth to meet criteria appropriate to ensure safe patient access at all times to a hospital emergency room or department, including but not limited to criteria related to indoor and outdoor signage, indoor and outdoor lighting, best-practice way-finding, and security and monitoring of all emergency department access points. Such criteria shall include minimum requirements for proper security monitoring of any prominent hospital doors or entrances that are locked at night through which a patient might try to egress, as well as the installation of panic buttons, emergency doorbells, or active video-intercom systems and any other safety features the department finds necessary to ensure patient access to an emergency room or department. The criteria shall incorporate the most-current published industry standards, related to the above criteria, including but not limited to the standards in the Facilities Guidelines Institute and The International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety. The department shall promulgate regulations not later than December 31, 2019.

SECTION 3. The commissioner of public health shall convene a working group to report and make recommendations on emergency department oversight. The report shall include, but not be limited to, an evaluation of current emergency department oversight, regulation, and enforcement, the adequacy of fees to cover inspection and oversight, the deterrent effect of penalties for violations of rules and regulations and cost recovery assessment for damages resulting from the failure to comply with rules and regulations, and any other matters the working group finds that would enhance patient access and the safety of emergency departments. The working group shall report its findings, including any proposed legislation to the joint committee on public health no later than July 31, 2019.