New Federal Regulations Increase Hospital & Visitation Rights for Same-Sex Couples

Posted January 25, 2011 in Estate Planning by Michael Lonich.

Earlier this month, new federal regulations pertaining to hospital visitation became effective.  These regulations require hospitals receiving federal Medicare or Medicaid money to have written visitation policies in place.  The new law also requires hospitals to inform patients (or a patient’s representative) of their rights regarding visitors.

The new regulations require federally funded hospitals to allow patients to designate their own visitors.  The new law also requires hospitals to allow patients the right to make personal decisions regarding whom they will appoint to make medical decisions on their behalf, regardless of gender or sexual identity. Hospitals refusing to comply with these new regulations will risk losing funding.  These new regulations largely increase the rights of same-sex couples in relation to medical decisions.

If you live in California, and if you are interested in protecting your right to appoint a representative to make healthcare decisions during your incapacitation, you may be interested in learning more about an advanced healthcare directive or a durable power of attorney.  An advance healthcare directive allows you to appoint a specified individual to make healthcare decisions based upon your specific wishes in the event you become incapacitated.  A durable power of attorney allows your appointed agent to address your financial and property issues when you are unable to do so.

For more information on a durable power of attorney or an advanced health care directive, please contact us.  Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Sources:  The Huffington Post; The Columbia Dispatch

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