Regarding The New Hospital Visitation Regulations

The following text is taken verbatim from the White House website. It comes from the Office Of Public Engagement and deals with the new hospital visitation policy which directly effects LGBT individuals and couples. While there has been much coverage of this news in the press, it is helpful to go directly to the source and read this documentation for yourself.

Despite the new ground taken with this important legislation, our attorneys strongly advise that members of the LGBT community have estate plans in place. While this new legislation is wonderful, it is not all-inclusive and may leave some important areas out, including the ability to make medical decisions on behalf of your partner.

The legislation follows below.

Hospital Visitation Regulations Go Into Effect Today
Posted by Brian Bond on January 18, 2011 at 05:41 PM EST

“There are few moments in our lives that call for greater compassion and companionship than when a loved one is admitted to the hospital. In these hours of need and moments of pain and anxiety, all of us would hope to have a hand to hold, a shoulder on which to lean – a loved one to be there for us, as we would be there for them.”

With those words on April 15, 2010 President Obama directed HHS Secretary Sebelius to initiate rulemaking to ensure that hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid respect the rights of patients to designate visitors. The President further advised that the rule should ensure that participating hospitals may not deny visitation privileges based on factors including sexual orientation or gender identity.

Today the new Hospital Visitation Regulations go into effect.

This policy impacts millions of LGBT Americans and their families. The President saw an injustice and felt very strongly about correcting this and has spoken about it often over the years. I want to thank HHS Secretary Sebelius and her team for their resolve to see this rule implemented. In fact, long before this rule was finalized, back in June, 2010 the Secretary laid the groundwork by reaching out to leaders of major hospital associations asking them to encourage their member hospitals to not wait for the formal rulemaking to run its course regarding patient-centered visitation rights suggested by the President.

This significant policy change is due in no small part to the journeys of two incredibly courageous and passionate women, Janice Langbehn and Charlene Strong. Both lived through unimaginable experiences with the loss of their wives and life partners. While I never had the opportunity to meet Janice’s wife Lisa Pond, or Charlene’s wife Kate Fleming, I have had the honor to meet and work with Janice and Charlene. I want to thank them for bringing us all into their lives and for sharing themselves and their families with us, and for using their voices to make lives better for LGBT families.

Brian Bond is Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Should you care to read this legislation directly on the White House site, you may do that by clicking here.