Update 5-13-22: The Essential Caregivers Program was passed by the Missouri House and Senate under Senate Bill 710 and House Bill 2116 and is now headed to Governor Parson’s desk for signing.

Action Alert – Senate Bill 671 Essential Caregiver’s Act

Tell Missouri Lawmakers that long-term care residents deserve the right to visitation. Support the Essential Caregivers Act.

The COVID-19 pandemic shut down visitation to long-term care facilities worldwide, and residents were confined to their rooms in extreme isolation. The Essential Caregivers Act allows long-term care residents access to in-person visitation with up to two designated caregivers during COVID-19 or other Governor-declared public health emergencies. This act is intended to ensure that total lockouts, as we saw during COVID, never happen again. 

What is an Essential Caregiver?

An essential caregiver is a person designated by the resident who can enter the facility even when visitation is shut down to provide support, assistance, and companionship to the resident. This person is often a family member or friend.

Under federal nursing facility law, residents of nursing facilities have the right to family and friend visitors at any time of day or night. For nearly a year, residents had their right to visitation stripped as they lived without access to friends, family, and advocates. The restrictive visitation policies intended to protect residents failed, and thousands died of COVID-19 while thousands more lived in loneliness, fear, and despair. The Essential Caregivers Act supports residents by:

Why is this important?

  • Allowing a daily visit between the resident and their essential caregiver
  • Promoting social connection and wellbeing
  • Ensuring support in meeting their basic needs such as eating, toileting, bathing, and personal hygiene
  • Providing a monitor and advocate for adequate care 

Get Involved!

Your voice is important. You can support The Essential Caregiver’s Act (SB 671) by telling your story! We are looking for people to join us in Jefferson City to testify in support of the bill. Contact our Policy and Advocacy Manager, Nicole Lynch, at nlynch@voycestl.org or register using the form below to get involved with our team of advocates. If you can’t join us in person, you can submit written testimony or call the committee members.

Contact Form

Find out more about telling your story in Jefferson City.

Contact the Committee

Senator Bill White (Call to thank him for sponsoring the bill) 

  • 573-751-2173 
  • Bill.White@senate.mo.gov 

Senator Elaine Gannon

Senator Rick Brattin

Senator Justin Brown

Senator Cindy O’Laughlin

Senator Holly Rehder

Senator Steven Roberts

Senator Jill Schupp

  • 573-751-9762
  • Jill.schupp@senate.mo.gov