Friday, January 28, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
On Tuesday, January 18, 2011, new regulations concerning hospital visitation go into effect. These new regulations require all hospitals participating in Medicaid and Medicare programs – virtually every hospital in the country – to permit patients to designate visitors of their choosing and prohibit discrimination in visitation based on a number of factors, including sexual orientation and gender identity. These Regulations were promulgated at the urging of President Obama after learning of a tragic situation in which an LGBT family was kept apart as one of the couple lay dying in a hospital bed. As a result of these regulations, for the first time, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their families across the country will have federal protections for a simple, yet immeasurably important right – to be able to be together when illness strikes. For more information, click here http://www.hrc.org/issues/15206.htm to go to the Human Rights Campaign’s Hospital Visitation Guide.
While this is a great victory, it should be noted that a number of health care issues related to LGBT individuals aren’t covered by the new regulations. It remains crucial to have the proper legal documents in place that will, among other things, permit one domestic partner to make health care decisions on behalf of the other.