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Health & Human Services Expands Hospital Visitation For LGBT Couples

You will recall that last year President Obama ordered Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, to draft rules requiring hospitals that receive Medicare and Medicaid payments to grant all patients the right to designate people who can visit and consult with them regardless of sexual orientation.

According to the Washington Blade, the rule has been finalized and the states have been notified about enforcement procedures:

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid sent a letter on Wednesday to states building off the memorandum President Obama issued last year mandating that hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds allow patients to designate their own visitors during a hospital stay, including a same-sex partner.

In November, HHS issued the final rule implementing Obama’s proposed change. The letter sent to states on Wednesday provides the enforcement mechanism by which state survey and certification groups can ensure hospitals are abiding by the policy.

Jesse Moore, an HHS spokesperson, said his department generally works with hospitals to bring them into compliance with rules and, at this point, HHS hasn’t heard of any problems with the guidance related to same-sex couples.

However, Moore said if a hospital doesn’t comply with the new rule and fails to fix the problem, HHS has “the power to terminate a Medicare provider agreement.”

The guidance that will be given to state survey agencies marks the last step in implementing the change that Obama proposed on hospital visitation last year.

Additionally, the letter also issues guidance mandating that hospitals recognize advance directives designating a same-sex partner as someone who can make emergency medical decisions for a patient who’s incapacitated. The department clarifies hospitals should defer to patients’ wishes concerning their representatives — whether expressed in writing, verbally or through other evidence — unless prohibited by state law.

Another step forward if the fight for equality. How the the Christo-Fascist Rethuglican Zombie Brigade fight this one?

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C

Originally from Denver, now living in the Low Countries of Europe. Spent four years in the Navy, got out when I realized I was a big ole flaming mo. Lived in NYC for almost a decade until meeting my husband, who because of the f'ed up immigration laws, can't stay in the US. I'm obsessed with politics and LGBT activism. I cannot stand or abide ANY form of religious stupidity or bigotry....oh, or republicans.

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