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The Department of Health and Human Services has announced new rules that allow hospital patients to choose their own visitors during a hospital stay, including a visitor who is a same-sex domestic partner. The rules apply to all hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid, but they apply to all patients of those hospitals even if they are not on Medicare or Medicaid.
“This announcement is another step toward equal rights for all Americans, and it is another step toward putting the patient at the center of our health care system,” said Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Donald M. Berwick. “All patients should be afforded the same rights and privileges when they enter our health care system, and that includes the same opportunity to see their significant other.”
Before the rules went into effect, some domestic partners only had limited legal rights when visiting a hospital that received Medicare and Medicaid funds.