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Hospital Visitation for LGBT Families

Visitation Rights

In times of emergency, you may be unable to make medical decisions or state who you want to visit you. In these situations, hospitals may restrict visitation rights to a narrow interpretation of family that excludes those not legally or biologically related to the patient. Similarly, state laws around medical decision-making often limit these rights to a patient’s biological family members when no documentation designates a surrogate decision maker. Read more about Protecting Your Visitation & Decision-Making Rights from hrc.org.

It is especially important for the LGBT community to take steps to ensure that the people we choose may visit us and make medical decisions on our behalf in times of emergency.

On January 18, 2011, federal regulations regarding patients’ hospital visitation rights went into effect.  These new rules, which apply to hospitals participating in the Medicaid and Medicare programs, require those institutions to permit patients to designate visitors of their choosing and prohibit discrimination in visitation based on a number of factors, including sexual orientation and gender identity.  For the first time, lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people and their families across the country will have federal protections for a simple, yet immeasurably important right – to be able to be together in some of life’s most difficult times. Continue reading the Hospital Visitation Guide for LGBTQ Families from hrc.org.