Poppy’s Purpose: Addison native fighting to change health facility visitation policies

DOUBLE SPRINGS - The legacy  Harold Sachs has left behind, combined with the ordeal his family faced during his month-long battle with COVID-19, is now being brought into state legislation that will hopefully prevent families from being totally separated from their loved ones in health care facilities due to pandemic restrictions.

Sachs, who is being remembered first as a God-fearing family man, would often tell his grandchildren, I love you. I said it first.’   Known as Poppy to those grandchildren, Sachs’ situation while battling COVID-19 has inspired legislation that is being pushed in the state legislature by Senator Garlan Gudger and Representative Tracy Estes.

During the Monday, Feb. 8, meeting of the Winston County Republican Party, an official announcement regarding the newly introduced legislation, known as Poppy’s Purpose, was made by Estes.  Poppy’s Purpose  is also the platform for Winston County native and Miss Alabama contestant Emee Baldwin, Sachs’ granddaughter.

Estes said he has constituents across his district who have not been able to visit family members in nursing homes since last March when the COVID-19 pandemic began in the state. At that time, Governor Kay Ivey called for hospitals, nursing homes and other care facilities to be closed to public visitation.

“Folks, that is just not right,” Estes said, adding he respected the governor, but did not always agree with her on every issue.

The lack of visitation at hospitals, Estes continued, may not be as critical since patients are often not in those facilities for extended periods of time.

“Unless you battle COVID for an extended period as our late, dear friend Harold Sachs did,” Estes said. “He couldn’t have family members in to visit with him.”

A rough draft of the legislation has been pulled together with a meeting set to put “some more teeth” into the bill this past week, Estes explained.

The legislation, when passed, would require hospitals and nursing homes to allow a minimum visitation of 30 minutes per day, he further explained.

See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
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