The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has just issued new rules for Medicare- and Medicaid-participating hospitals that protect patients’ right to choose their own visitors during a hospital stay, including a visitor who is a same-sex domestic partner.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that “Basic human rights—such as your ability to choose your own support system in a time of need—must not be checked at the door of America’s hospitals”. Sebelius also said that “Today’s rules help give ‘full and equal’ rights to all of us to choose whom we want by our bedside when we are sick, and override any objection by a hospital or staffer who may disagree with us for any non-clinical reason.”
The new rules follow from an
In an April 15, 2010 Presidential Memorandum President Obama tasked HHS with developing standards for Medicare- and Medicaid-participating hospitals (including critical access hospitals) that would require them to respect the right of all patients to choose who may visit them when they are an inpatient of a hospital.
The President’s memorandum instructed HHS to develop rules that would prohibit hospitals from denying visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. It also directed that the ru