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Feds emphasize hospital rights for gay partners

September 7, 2011

No word on sanctioning gay marriage, but the federal government is taking a stand on hospital visits for same sex couples.

The Department of Health and Human Services is offering more information on rules it created last November that give patients the right to choose who visits them in the hospital and allows them to designate a same sex partner to make medical decisions on their behalf.

In a press release today, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said-

Couples take a vow to be with each other in sickness and in health and it is unacceptable that, in the past, some same-sex partners were denied the right to visit their loved ones in times of need. We are releasing guidance for enforcing new rules that give all patients, including those with same-sex partners, the right to choose who can visit them in the hospital as well as enhancing existing guidance regarding the right to choose who will help make medical decisions on their behalf.

The rules apply to any hospital that receives payments from Medicaid or Medicare.

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