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Patient Rights Expanded, LGBT Families Can Comfort Loved Ones without Discrimination

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As of yesterday, hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid must allow all patients to decide upon visitation rights and who to entrust with making medical decisions on their behalf regardless of sexual orientation or identity, according to The Huffington Post.Brian Bond, White House deputy director of public engagement, said that "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."

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese praised the President for taking quick action on modifying the patient rights policy and noted that "LGBT people experience discrimination in many aspects of their lives, but it is perhaps at its worst during times of crisis."

These new rules, first proposed by President Obama in April of last year, represent a landmark advance in the rights of same-sex couples and domestic partners who were previously unable to visit and act on behalf of loved ones who were hospitalized.