SAGE Executive Director Michael Adams Applauds President Obama's Memorandum on the Hospital Visitation Rights of LGBT People
"As the world's oldest and largest non-profit agency serving LGBT older people, our caseworkers have encountered countless and often tragic stories of LGBT persons being shut out of the hospital room or denied the opportunity to care for a loved one - often relationships decades long - because of discriminatory rules and regulations against same-gendered partners. In a medical emergency or an end-of-life moment, LGBT older adults are forced to call 911 then look for their power of attorney, if they have one."
The Presidential Memorandum directs HHS to ensure that all that hospitals that participate in Medicare or Medicaid respect the rights of patients to designate visitors, including individuals designated by legally valid advance directives (such as durable powers of attorney and health care proxies), should enjoy visitation privileges that are no more restrictive than those that immediate family members enjoy regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. The regulatory change will require HHS to propose new rules for public comment before final rules changes are made.
"Without complex and often expensive legal arrangements in place, LGBT elders' partners or other loved ones may be shut out of medical decision making or denied visitation." "While the President's authority does affect hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid, I hope that other private and state run health facilities will follow the President's leadership in ensuring the rights of LGBT Americans, particularly our older adults."
"It is heartening to see a growing awareness of the inequities and disparities that many LGBT elders face in our society."
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competence training through SAGECare. With staff in New York City, Washington, DC and Chicago, SAGE coordinates a growing network of 30 SAGE affiliates in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Learn more at sageusa.org and lgbtagingcenter.org.