This page, Mass. General Laws c.17 § 21, is offered by

Mass. General Laws c.17 § 21

Access to emergency room (Laura's Law)

This is an unofficial version of a Massachusetts General Law. For more information on this topic, please see Law about health care.

Table of Contents


Added by St.2020, c.384, § 1, effective April 15, 2021

Section 21

The department of public health shall promulgate regulations relative to patient access to hospital emergency rooms or departments that would require all hospitals in the commonwealth to meet minimum criteria and standards that ensure safe, timely and accessible patient access to hospital emergency rooms or departments at all times. The regulations shall include, but not be limited to: (a) criteria and standards related to: (1) legible indoor and outdoor signage; (2) indoor and outdoor lighting; (3) best-practice wayfinding signage; and (4) security and monitoring of all emergency department access points; (b) minimum requirements for proper security monitoring of any prominent hospital door or entrance that is locked at night and through which a patient may try to enter; and (c) any other safety feature that the department deems necessary to ensure daytime or nighttime entry to an emergency room or department.

In promulgating the regulations, the department shall: (a) ensure that all patients, including patients at all levels of physical, sensory and brain-based function, are able to access hospital emergency rooms or departments; and (b) consider the most-current published industry standards and best practices, including, but not limited to, standards under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, local codes, regulations, including regulations promulgated by the architectural access board, and any guidance or resources from the Facility Guidelines Institute Inc. and the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety.



Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only


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Last updated: January 15, 2021