On January 19th, the new hospital visitation regulations went into effect. In summary, the require hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid to have written policies and procedures regarding patients’ visitation rights. Hospitals must: (1) inform each patient of his or her right to receive visitors whom he or she designates, including a domestic partner, (2) do not restrict or limit visitation rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity, among other factors and (3) ensure that all visitors have full and equal visitation rights, consistent with a patient’s wishes. A hospital that fails to comply with these new requirements could be terminated from the Medicare program (the largest healthcare payer in the country), making it ineligible to receive either Medicare or Medicaid payments.
The regulations came about in response to a legal battle waged by Lambda Legal on behalf on Janice Langbehn, who was denied visitation with her dying partner in a Florida hospital.
In response, the HRC has prepared a Hospital Visitation Guide for LGBT families.
This is a wonderful step forward for lgbt families in the United States.
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copyright 2011 Irene C. Olszewski