Community Leaders Meet with State Health Officials Regarding Lingering Covid Restrictions at Hospitals
By: BZ Green
Many will be surprised to learn that many hospitals continue to enforce restrictions on family visitation introduced during the Covid era. This is despite a letter issued by Governor Kathy Hochul one year ago that these restrictions were to be phased out.
“A patient has the legal right to have a family member present at their bedside,” explained Rabbi Naftuli Moshe Indig, CEO of the Williamsburg JCC, and a representative for intergovernmental relations in the Brooklyn area.
To address concerns over this issue, 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, on Thursday at the home of the Satmar Rebbe and Rebbetzin in Kiryas Yoel to ask for them to issue clear guidance to the hospitals to lift these restrictions immediately.
“We had a meeting about with the governor one year ago regarding this issue, and the State Health Department issued a letter instructing them to phase out the restrictions, but hospitals were utilizing a loophole in that guidance to keep restrictions in place,” explained Rabbi Indig.
“The Satmar Rebbetzin from Kiryas Yoel has dedicated her life to the mitzvah of Bikur Cholim,” he said, “and she experienced terrible isolation herself as a patient during the Covid era. When she awoke from a coma, she couldn’t even lift her hand to take a sip of water. She is therefore committed to ensuring that no patient should have to go through the loneliness, the isolation, and the helplessness with regard to their basic needs that so many have experienced.”
The officials expressed their understanding of the issue. They assured the community leaders that they would issue unequivocal guidance in the near future for hospitals to lift these restrictions that have been causing hardship to patients and their families for so long.