Hospital visitation policy protecting same-sex couples takes effect today

Federal regulations on hospital visitation take effect today that protect same-sex couples in hospital settings across the country. The new regulations apply to all hospitals receiving funds from the federal government under the Medicaid and Medicare programs for the needy and elderly. Under the regulations, hospitals may not place any restrictions on visitation based on sexual orientation. In addition, the hospitals must inform each patient of his or her right to receive visitors designated by the patient, “including, but not limited to, a spouse, a domestic partner (including a same-sex domestic partner), another family member or a friend.” Any hospital found to violate the new rules risks losing a major source of revenue.

Statement by Task Force Executive Director, Rea Carey:

Today marks a step forward in ensuring same-sex couples are no longer discriminated against in hospital settings. Of all the things same-sex couples have to worry about, of all the discrimination and pressures we face, not being able to see our partner or spouse shouldn’t be one of them. This new policy will have a positive impact on same-sex couples and our families throughout the nation. We thank the administration for taking this step, but continue to urge for the removal of barriers to full protections for our families, which includes repealing DOMA.