The blog is a great place to talk about the news stories that, even though they may be very important, get missed in the bigger headlines. One of those stories this week, new LGBT-friendly hospital visitation regulations went into effect, yesterday. The new protocol was launched on April 15 and has been in development ever since. Now hospitals taking part in Medicare and Medicaid must extend visitation rights to the partners of lesbians and gay men.
Last April when President Obama initiated this change he stated, "There are few moments in our lives that call for greater compassion and companionship than when a loved one is admitted to the hospital. In these hours of need and moments of pain and anxiety, all of us would hope to have a hand to hold, a shoulder on which to lean – a loved one to be there for us, as we would be there for them."
Gay rights advocates are voicing their pleasure with the changes. Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, told the Washington Post, "Of all the things same-sex couples have to worry about, of all the discrimination and pressures we face, not being able to see our partner or spouse shouldn't be one of them." White House staffer, Brian Bond, also wrote about the new policy today on the White House blog saying:
This policy impacts millions of LGBT Americans and their families. The President saw an injustice and felt very strongly about correcting this and has spoken about it often over the years. I want to thank HHS Secretary Sebelius and her team for their resolve to see this rule implemented. In fact, long before this rule was finalized, back in June, 2010 the Secretary laid the groundwork by reaching out to leaders of major hospital associations asking them to encourage their member hospitals to not wait for the formal rulemaking to run its course regarding patient-centered visitation rights suggested by the President.