(a) A public or private hospital licensed pursuant to the provisions of section two of this article is required to permit patient visitation privileges for nonrelatives unless otherwise requested by the patient or legal designee. For purposes of this section, the term "legal designee" means and includes those persons eighteen years of age or older, appointed by the patient to make health care decisions for the patient pursuant to the provisions of section six, article thirty of this chapter.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that this section facilitate a patient's visitation with nonrelative individuals, and may not, in any way, restrict or limit allowable uses and disclosures of protected health information pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, 42 U.S.C. §1320d-2 and the accompanying regulations in 45 CFR 164.500.
(c) No provision of this section may be construed to prevent a hospital from otherwise restricting visitation privileges in order to prevent harm to the patient or disruption to the facility.