Friday, April 16, 2010

Obama orders hospital visitation rights for LGBT Americans

From CNN:  Obama ordered the Dept of Health & Human Services to establish a rule: if hospitals accept Medicare/Medicaid funding, they must let partners visit gay patients.

Obama requested that the regulation make clear that any hospital receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding, which includes the vast majority of U.S. hospitals, must allow patients to decide who can visit them and prohibit discrimination based on a variety of characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

To quote the vice-president, "This is a big fucking deal."  For years, LGBT people have petitioned hospitals, counties, and state governments to allow us to visit our sick partners in the hospital.  In the back of our heads, there's the worry that we might die like Lisa Pond, alone, with our lover barred from the room, without the chance to say goodbye.  Or that when our partners need us, we'll be barred from telling the doctor our partner's medical history and allergies.

Many gay people travel with our wills & durable power of attorney paperwork tucked into our suitcases, just in case.  Here's hoping that Obama's order works, and we can travel lighter.

1 comment:

lorax said...

It's even worse than you suggest; right now, carrying our papers isn't enough. Janice Langbehn (Lisa Pond's partner) had the documentation. The hospital just chose to ignore it. Gay couples in Florida and similar states were probably better off claiming to be siblings than showing their expensive legal paperwork giving them visitation rights as partners.