Lori Brand Patient Bill of Rights Act, pressed by House Majority leader Echols, pending before Oklahoma Senate

Oklahoma City — State House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, successfully advanced the “Lori Brand Patient Bill of Rights” through the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The measure is now pending in the Senate.

House Bill 1013 is named after Lori Brand, an Oklahoma City woman who passed away inside a hospital in 2020 during the height of the COVID pandemic.

Her husband, Gerald, and their daughter, Alissa Cartwright, watched from the gallery during the passage of H.B. 1013.

Representative Echols thanked them for sharing their story with him, which served as the inspiration for the legislation.

“My wife, Lori, was hospitalized in Oklahoma City in March of 2020 and subsequently died,” Gerald Brand related.

“Our family had to beg to be allowed any access to Lori who needed us then more than ever. We were disrespected and cut out of the information loop. The entire experience was one of systemic disconnect and brokenness between hospital systems. It was this heartbreaking experience that opened my eyes to a lack of concern for the protection of patients’ rights.

“I have spent years following every avenue available, seeking an explanation for the ordeal suffered by Lori and our family, and still we are left with no answers, no follow-ups and certainly no remedies. I can’t help but feel the system is broken, and we know we are not alone in our experience.

“The legislation passed by Rep. Echols gives me hope that we can begin to restore our hospitals and prioritize the rights of the patients and their families.”

H.B. 1013 addresses patient visitation as part of 30 outlined rights that would be afforded to patients receiving treatment in the state should the measure be signed into law.

“I’ve heard overwhelmingly from people who don’t want their loved ones to be alone when they die and overwhelmingly from people who have related the horror they still live with because their loved one was alone when they died in a hospital,” Echols said in a press release sent to CapitolBeatOK.com.

“This bill recognizes our hospitals and our health care workers are doing the very best they can under very trying circumstances, but it also recognizes that patients are people who have rights that need to be respected. Patients deserve to be informed about and have a right to understand matters within the hospital that would affect their care. They also must be allowed to participate in decisions that affect their medical treatment.”

Questioned during the legislative process about whether hospitals should be expected to provide a list of rules and procedures to each patient within their care, Echols said he believes not only that it is within a hospital’s ability to do this, but it is absolutely a must.

The Oklahoma City Republican explained that many other states provide similar protections for their patients, and he believes hospitals in Oklahoma should follow suit.

“One hundred times out of one hundred, things that affect patient care need to be disclosed to the patient,” Echols said.

“Health care has to evolve, and I think this is part of it.”

In the floor vote on March 23, the measure had 94-0 bipartisan backing. As the measure had advanced in the House, Echols secured increasing bipartisan support. State Reps. Ellyn Hefner, D-Oklahoma City, and Lori Hasenbeck, R-Elgin, joined as co-sponsors.

In the upper chamber of the State Legislature, Jessica Garvin, R-Duncan, is the principal author.

Note: Jon Echols serves District 90 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes parts of Cleveland and Oklahoma counties. Founded in 2009, CapitolBeatOK.com is an independent, non-partisan and locally-managed news service based in Oklahoma City.