Medicare Sets Rules For Equal Visitation Rights For Hospital Patients

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released new rules that provide patient rights for choosing visitors during a hospital stay, including a same-sex domestic partner.  The new rules for Medicare- and Medicaid-participating hospitals require that written policies and procedures outline detailed rights and circumstances when patient access be restricted based upon clinical needs.  One of the goals of the new rules is to further the directive of a focus on patient-centered care by updating the Conditions of Participation (CoPs), which are the health and safety standards all Medicare- and Medicaid-participating hospitals and critical access hospitals must meet.

“Basic human rights—such as your ability to choose your own support system in a time of need—must not be checked at the door of America’s hospitals,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  “Today’s rules help give ‘full and equal’ rights to all of us to choose whom we want by our bedside when we are sick, and override any objection by a hospital or staffer who may disagree with us for any non-clinical reason.”