Last week, new federal regulations regarding patients’ hospital visitation rights–most notably LGBT patients–went into effect, and they affect all of us, for the better. See, these new regulations require all hospitals that participate in Medicaid and Medicare programs–which is roughly, oh, I don’t know, every single hospital in America–to allow the patients to determine who can, and cannot visit them; in addition, the regulations further prohibit discriminating against visitors based on any number of factors, including sexual orientation and gender identity.
Which means the end of the “Only family can visit” bull shiz.
These new federal regulations have come into being because of the tragic story of one such LGBT family: Janice Langbehn, Lisa Pond and their children. I first posted their story HERE, and followed it up HERE and HERE –but, to recap, while readying for a cruise in Miami, Lisa Pond suffered a brain aneurysm, and was taken to Jackson Memorial hospital in Miami. Janice Langbehn was not allowed to visit her partner as Lisa lay in a coma, except for a few minutes while the priest administered last rites; she wasn’t even allowed to bring their children into see their mother.
Almost instantly after this story broke, President Obama–proving that day that he was our fierce advocate–issued a presidential memorandum which directed the Department of Health and Human Services to develop regulations protecting hospital visitation rights.
So, now, because of Janice and Lisa, and because of President Obama, if Carlos, heaven forbid, is hospitalized, the hospital will not be allowed to refuse me visitation–or vice versa. Now, I won’t hold my breath that every hospital will follow these new regulations, but I do think that after a few lawsuits, maybe they’ll take notice.