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New Proposed Rules Ensure Equal Visitation Rights

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  • In CMS
  • July 2, 2010
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Two new proposed rules implement an April 15 presidential memorandum in which President Barack Obama requested the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) develop standards that would require Medicare- and Medicaid-participating hospitals (including critical access hospitals (CAHs)) to preserve the rights of all inpatients to choose who may visit them.
The proposed rules, according to an HHS press release, would require every U.S. hospital to have written policies and procedures detailing patients’ visitation rights, as well as instances when the hospital may restrict patient access to vistors based on reasonable clinical needs.
A key provision of the proposed rules specifies that visitors chosen by the patient (or his or her representative) must be able to enjoy the same visitation privileges as those for immediate family members.
The proposed rules would update the Conditions of Participation, which are minimum health and safety standards all Medicare- and Medicaid-participating hospitals and CAHs must meet.
The proposed rules are available for public comment for 60 days and will be finalized after CMS has read and considered the comments. More information about the proposed rules is available on CMS’ Conditions for Coverage (CfCs) & Conditions of Participations (CoPs) website.

No Responses to “New Proposed Rules Ensure Equal Visitation Rights”

  1. Nancy Stembridge RN says:

    I am confused. I thought the right of a patient to designate who is allowed to visit (whether family, friend or significant other) was already protected by HIPAA laws and the Civil Rights Act. Why is additional legislation needed? There have been recent reports of those rights being violated, which is distressing, but enforcing existing laws should be all that is needed, not new legislation. I have been a nurse for 30 years and have always honored the patient’s wishes in regards to visitation and release of information, expressed verbally and/or in writing. It is my responsibility as a professional to be aware of the patient’s designation regarding privacy and those who they desire to visit for emotional and social support at a time of illness. The patient or their designated health care surrogate should always be in control of this personal choice.