A mandate issued by President Obama requires hospitals receiving Medicare or Medicaid funding to allow gays and lesbians to have non-family visitors and to grant their partners medical power of attorney.
In the memo (PDF), President Obama reportedly ordered the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prohibit discrimination in hospital visitation. In his memo, he wrote that participating hospitals may not deny visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.
Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, praised President Obama’s decision, saying “Discrimination touches every facet of the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, including at times of crisis and illness, when we need our loved ones with us more than ever.”
New Rules Apply to Any Hospital Receiving Medicare or Medicaid Funding
The new rule will apply to any hospital receiving Medicare or Medicaid funding, which covers the vast majority of the country’s health-care institutions.