Obama orders hospitals to allow visitation rights to gay couples

posted at 9:19 pm on April 15, 2010 by Allahpundit

How can the president “force” American hospitals to alter their discrimination policies? The same way Bush “forced” some medical researchers to avoid embryonic stem cells: By issuing an executive order denying them federal funding if they don’t comply. The One’s order applies only to hospitals that receive Medicare or Medicaid (which is most hospitals, natch) and amounts to saying, “If you don’t do this, we can’t do business.” So, rest assured, they’ll follow orders.

President Obama on Thursday signed a memorandum requiring hospitals to allow gays and lesbians to have non-family visitors and to grant their partners medical power of attorney.

The president ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to prohibit discrimination in hospital visitation. The memo is scheduled to be made public Friday morning, according to an administration official and another source familiar with the White House decision…

“Every day, all across America, patients are denied the kindnesses and caring of a loved one at their sides whether in a sudden medical emergency or a prolonged hospital stay,” Obama says in the memo.

Affected, he said, are “gay and lesbian American who are often barred from the bedsides of the partners with whom they may have spent decades of their lives — unable to be there for the person they love, and unable to act as a legal surrogate if their partner is incapacitated.”

It’s not just gays who are affected: Essentially, the ruling lets patients designate whoever they want as visitors irrespective of whether they’re family or not. I can’t imagine that this will provoke a huge backlash, even among gay marriage opponents — if compassion for suffering is good enough to justify picking up the tab for uninsured patients, it’s good enough to broaden visitation — but I’m curious why he did it now. Gays aren’t happy about the military’s foot-dragging on “don’t ask, don’t tell,” but Gates has already taken measures recently to hurry that along as best he can. If there’s a political angle to this, I’m not sure I see it.

I also don’t see why discrimination policy (or stem-cell policy, for that matter) should be set unilaterally by the president via funding protocols instead of by Congress, especially given The One’s increasing habit of bypassing the legislature to get things done. Granted, they can overrule him by passing a statute, but doing it this way protects Blue Dogs from a vote they may not want to take ahead of the midterms. To which I say: If you can’t handle the tough votes, don’t run.


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I am so ready for 2012! We just need to rally behind whomever has the best chance to win and never look back no matter what the democrats throw at our candidate.

dnlchisholm on April 16, 2010 at 12:31 AM

This means no gay SCOTUS appointment.

J_Crater on April 16, 2010 at 12:33 AM

I’ve never had any issues visiting anyone in the hospital, related or not. There are age restrictions so that little kids don’t pull on cords or tubes or anything, but any adult can visit any other person, so far as I can see.

Of course, I’ve only visited hospitals in three states, so who knows what might be going on in, say, Virginia or Hawaii.

tcn on April 16, 2010 at 12:43 AM

Y’know what we need?

An executive order that forces people who took FHA loans to let the homeless sleep in their homes whenever they want.

‘Coz y’know… whatever we put into an executive order is immediately legal and cannot be appealed.

Skywise on April 16, 2010 at 12:45 AM

An executive order that bans smoking in FHA homes.

You took the government money right?

So that means we can order you to do whatever you want…

Skywise on April 16, 2010 at 12:46 AM

The measures in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah call for a ban on civil unions or other partnership benefits as well.

Jimbo3 on April 15, 2010 at 11:23 PM

OK, genius, I live in Arkansas. My best friend has my PoA. She’s a she like I am. How the h3ll would anyone even know the nature of our relationship?

I’m pretty sure my lawyer would have advised me if naming a same-sex, nonrelative would render it invalid.

NoLeftTurn on April 16, 2010 at 12:46 AM

The measures in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah call for a ban on civil unions or other partnership benefits as well.

Jimbo3 on April 15, 2010 at 11:23 PM
OK, genius, I live in Arkansas. My best friend has my PoA. She’s a she like I am. How the h3ll would anyone even know the nature of our relationship?

I’m pretty sure my lawyer would have advised me if naming a same-sex, nonrelative would render it invalid.

NoLeftTurn on April 16, 2010 at 12:46 AM

–Did you ask your lawyer the question (or describe your relationship before signing the PoA?)

Jimbo3 on April 16, 2010 at 12:48 AM

She’s a she like I am. How the h3ll would anyone even know the nature of our relationship?

I’m pretty sure my lawyer would have advised me if naming a same-sex, nonrelative would render it invalid.

NoLeftTurn on April 16, 2010 at 12:46 AM

There-in lies the genius of this order. Anyone wanting access to someone comatose can claim homosexual relations and then have access to that comatose person.

It is a boon for perverts. Good job democrat voters!

Inanemergencydial on April 16, 2010 at 12:50 AM

–Forms are only words. It’s up to courts (in the worst case) to decide if those words are enforcable. Let me look for cases, though.

Jimbo3 on April 15, 2010 at 11:48 PM

It’s only an issue of someone else decides to bring it to court, jackass. Go look up the percentage of instances in which that happens. I’d wager it’s in the single digits.

NoLeftTurn on April 16, 2010 at 12:50 AM

–Did you ask your lawyer the question (or describe your relationship before signing the PoA?)

Jimbo3 on April 16, 2010 at 12:48 AM

um…No Bueno here, you could grant a PoA to AP’s mom and it would have the same strength. You are thinking backwards. Certain relationships are assumed to have PoA’s (spouse, next of kin, guardianships, etc….not the other way around)

Fighton03 on April 16, 2010 at 12:59 AM

–Forms are only words. It’s up to courts (in the worst case) to decide if those words are enforcable. Let me look for cases, though.

Jimbo3 on April 15, 2010 at 11:48 PM

LMFAO…you must be a lawyer. And as any lawyer will tell you…all bets are off in front of a jury.

Fighton03 on April 16, 2010 at 1:00 AM

The measures in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah call for a ban on civil unions or other partnership benefits as well.

This is irrelevant. I’m not looking to get on her health insurance plan or file a joint tax return with her. I’m giving her the power to make decisions for me if I’m incapacitated. There’s nothing in Arkansas law that bars me from doing so.

–Did you ask your lawyer the question (or describe your relationship before signing the PoA?)

Jimbo3 on April 16, 2010 at 12:48 AM

Yes, counselor, we discussed it. The guy does nothing but wills, trusts and estates. I have a law degree of my own. Stop condescending to everyone in this thread as if we all just fell off the turnip truck.

NoLeftTurn on April 16, 2010 at 1:00 AM

Jimbo3

YOU are one piece of work. I have to ask myself;
Do you ever revisit your posts? Always, you are like a taffy pull; more or less same ingredients but mixed up in some manner.. Then I have to ask myself, Who Are You? What are you? Really and truly.

betsyz on April 16, 2010 at 1:03 AM

This whole thing came down because a Lesbian had been refused visitation with her partner who was dying. She was finally allowed to see her but by then it had become headline news in Florida. And some Gays are complaining that it took him too long since this case happened two years ago.
Also there is the suspicion about the timing of this since a large Gay protest over DADT is planned for when Obama attends a fundraiser in L.A. for Babs Boxer on Monday. Maybe Obama was trying to appease someone so they wouldn’t protest?

Deanna on April 16, 2010 at 1:04 AM

It is unclear how this is to be co-ordinated with patient safety and privacy, but then, Obama is not very good at understanding details.

As for the ‘gay aspect, this proclamation is totally meaningless out here in California where civil unions are legal.

In fact, it is just another reason that the Ca constitutional ammendment that defines marriage as being only between one man and one woman, had NOTHING to do with ‘equal rights’.

Freddy on April 16, 2010 at 1:10 AM

This whole thing came down because a Lesbian had been refused visitation with her partner who was dying.

Deanna on April 16, 2010 at 1:04 AM

Do you know by whom? Seriously.

Connie on April 16, 2010 at 1:24 AM

I don’t care, I don’t care what people think of me. WE ARE MOST CERTAINLY INDOCTRINATED. Who, really, gives an ounce of shut over this stuff. As long as, with both parties of certain sexual indoctrinations, don’t openly put on some erotic full-blown exposition, who the h@ll cares? Unless, they do. Ooops.

betsyz on April 16, 2010 at 1:24 AM

betsyz on April 16, 2010 at 1:24 AM

+100

Fighton03 on April 16, 2010 at 1:26 AM

<blockquotebetsyz on April 16, 2010 at 1:24 AM

As far as Obama’s order here, it is pretty much meaningless. As far as pushing an agenda goes, I care. And I am the voice of the bullied minority.

Connie on April 16, 2010 at 1:31 AM

I have nothing wrong with gay partners visiting their significant others in a hospital but I seeing the Federal government use these extortion techniques always bothered me.

Daemonocracy on April 16, 2010 at 1:31 AM

<blockquotebetsyz on April 16, 2010 at 1:24 AM

As far as Obama’s order here, it is pretty much meaningless. As far as pushing an agenda goes, I care. And I am the voice of the bullied minority majority.

Connie on April 16, 2010 at 1:31 AM

Connie on April 16, 2010 at 1:32 AM

V

I do not disparage you. I value your opinion. But, on the other hand, I would not cease to love my own children if they pronounced a certain sexual orientation other than the norm. However, I cannot keep up this constant bombardment of cheer-leading, sort of, rah-rah-rah, it’s the thing and the normalcy of this life-style: I accept it, but do not embrace it.

betsyz on April 16, 2010 at 1:42 AM

This whole thing came down because a Lesbian had been refused visitation with her partner who was dying.

Deanna on April 16, 2010 at 1:04 AM

Do you know by whom? Seriously.

Connie on April 16, 2010 at 1:24 AM

It was Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Here’s a link to the story…http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/30/no-visiting-rights-for-hospital-patients/#more-15063

Deanna on April 16, 2010 at 1:58 AM

I suppose it is time for private hospitals that do not take federal money.

crosspatch on April 16, 2010 at 1:59 AM

It was Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Here’s a link to the story…http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/30/no-visiting-rights-for-hospital-patients/#more-15063

Deanna on April 16, 2010 at 1:58 AM

A closely watched legal case that focused on whether hospital patients have a right to visitors has ended in disappointment for patient advocates and gay rights groups. A federal judge has dismissed a Florida lawsuit in which a same-sex partner and her children weren’t allowed to visit a dying woman’s bedside, saying a hospital trauma center has no legal obligation to allow visitors.

You’re kidding me… right? A court finds a legal right for hospitals to disallow visitors to trauma wards, for good reason and Obama waves his magic wand?

Skywise on April 16, 2010 at 2:29 AM

Unless the Americans make changes far more drastic than anything they seem willing to make, it seems they will end up obeying the men with $3,400,000,000,000 to spend each year, so long as they do have it. I do not think the Americans will find it possible to have a “federal” government with so much to spend, while at the same time preserving what is left of federalism and free exercise of rights of life, liberty, and estate. We have spent decades telling the Americans the dangers of giving too much power to the “federal” government, and we have not been heard. It is far from certain that you can now save yourselves, for one can make some mistakes only once. Having given so much power to their “federal” government, the Americans find themselves obligated to it, for men are often more obligated by favors granted than by favors received. Nor do the Americans know to what end they may be conducted, for one does not say, for example, “Give me your weapon; I want to kill you.” It suffices to say, “Give me your weapon,” for when you have the weapon in your hand, you can satisfy your desire.

Kralizec on April 16, 2010 at 2:53 AM

You’re kidding me… right? A court finds a legal right for hospitals to disallow visitors to trauma wards, for good reason and Obama waves his magic wand?

Skywise on April 16, 2010 at 2:29 AM

Are you really so surprised? See my comment at 2:53 AM.

Kralizec on April 16, 2010 at 2:55 AM

What hospital policy?? The thing is the government passed the whole HIPPA thing years ago and that makes it almost impossible for providers to allow access to the health care information of other people, etc.

Terrye on April 16, 2010 at 6:48 AM

I do believe this falls under the category of “extreme misuse of power”, also known as one step below dictatorship.

pilamaye on April 16, 2010 at 7:34 AM

This is stupid. I work in healthcare; our corporation has 12 hospitals and not one of them unilaterally permits only immediate family visitations or limits a medical power of attorney. Of course these are left to the patient.

And anyone who has half a brain, gay or straight, will have a medical power of attorney before they need one.

ladyingray on April 16, 2010 at 7:41 AM

Since this was allegedly the “big thing” that had gays demanding marriage, can we stop the redefinition of marriage now? Can we?

Didn’t think so. Hypocrates.

crazy_legs on April 16, 2010 at 7:43 AM

Jimbo3

YOU are one piece of work. I have to ask myself;
Do you ever revisit your posts? Always, you are like a taffy pull; more or less same ingredients but mixed up in some manner.. Then I have to ask myself, Who Are You? What are you? Really and truly.

betsyz on April 16, 2010 at 1:03 AM

I do. Do you have a point?

The measures in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah call for a ban on civil unions or other partnership benefits as well.
This is irrelevant. I’m not looking to get on her health insurance plan or file a joint tax return with her. I’m giving her the power to make decisions for me if I’m incapacitated. There’s nothing in Arkansas law that bars me from doing so.

–Did you ask your lawyer the question (or describe your relationship before signing the PoA?)

Jimbo3 on April 16, 2010 at 12:48 AM
Yes, counselor, we discussed it. The guy does nothing but wills, trusts and estates. I have a law degree of my own. Stop condescending to everyone in this thread as if we all just fell off the turnip truck.

NoLeftTurn on April 16, 2010 at 1:00 AM

See below.

Here’s the Arkansas Constitutional amendment. It probably does not invalidate powers of attorney because it talks about legal status of a relationship, rather than “incidents of marriage”.

(1) Marriage consists only of the union of one man and one woman. (2) Legal status for unmarried persons which is identical or substantially similar to marital status shall not be valid or recognized in Arkansas

But compare that to the Virginia law:

That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions. This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage.

Jimbo3 on April 16, 2010 at 7:57 AM

This is really a no-brainer. There was a story a couple of years ago about a lesbian couple denied visitation but I never really believed that was the real story. Public pressue alone is enough to force even the most backward hospitals into allowing gay visits and legal rights.

What sorta bothers me is the “patient aproval” part of it. As another comment already mentioned, what happens when the patient is in a coma? But the real downside is the hurt feelings and broken friendships this will probably cause.

Some people are real dolts. When I was in labor with my daughter my best friend showed up at the hospital. It was about 10PM and, while I love her dearly the last thing I needed was another person in the room. My sister was there with me. And so were about 6 total strangers coming and going.

A nurse came in and told me I had a friend outside. I pretty much lost it. I didn’t want to hurt my friends feelings, but I really didn’t want her there. I knew she’d be all upset, though, and I didn’t know what to do. The nurse was great. She said “don’t worry, I’ll tell her it’s against hospital rules”. Whew, was I relieved.

Jaynie59 on April 16, 2010 at 8:06 AM

President Obama on Thursday signed a memorandum requiring hospitals to allow gays and lesbians to have non-family visitors and to grant their partners medical power of attorney.

WTF? So Obama decides to roll back a restriction that hospitals established to keep control of foot traffic. Were gays being singled out by some type of profiling?

Beyond that, gays and lesbians have always had the right to excute powers of attorney (financial, medical, or otherwise) naming WHOEVER they want as their attorney-in-fact to handle the matters outlined in the particular power of attorney. This is nonsense. Hey, gays, go to an estate planning lawyer and get some fracking estate planning.

Sorry, but Biden whined about this nonsense in his debate with Palin, and he failed to note that Johnny or Tommy or whoever he was crying about ALWAYS had the opportunity to sign documents that would have empowered the people of their choice to handle financial, medical, or other matters.

This is such a nonsense issue. Plan ahead.

BuckeyeSam on April 16, 2010 at 8:07 AM

Hair Stylists and Window Dressers REJOICE.

Dear Leader has broken your chains of oppression.

heh

franksalterego on April 16, 2010 at 8:16 AM

Seems like Obama is throwing a bone to the gay and lesbian community… perhaps he won’t be repealing DADT after all?

FWIW, I think it’s a good thing. I know gay people who have been in very long relationships, and should be allowed to visit their loved ones in the hospital.

sarainitaly on April 16, 2010 at 8:28 AM

Does a Catholic hospital that takes Medicare have to take down the crucifixes? Johns Hopkins has a huge statue of Christ in the entrance, must it come down?

BTW, when people walk thru the lobby, staff, visitors, lots of people, they touch His feet as they walk by: thereby establishing a federal religion?

/

Akzed on April 16, 2010 at 8:53 AM

As many people have stated, I don’t get this. I have no family in Dallas, so when I had my cancer surgery last year, my best friend/sorority sister brought me to the hospital, sat with me in the recovery room after surgery and stayed with me the next day until they finally got around to releasing me. I put her and her sister down as points of contact for release of information and she had medical power of attorney for me. She also took care of contacting my parents in Pennsylvania after I was out of surgery to let them know everything went well.

What, was there something preventing me from having anyone with me while I went through major surgery just because I have no biological family in town? News to me.

Alia on April 16, 2010 at 9:15 AM

Interestingly, this might lead to violence at hospitals. Here’s why.

I used to be a PA in private practice and worked in several hospitals here in Texas. There was no hospital policy against gays visiting loved ones in any of the hospitals in which I worked. The families of the hospitalized person requested the significant other not be permitted. In such cases, there was usually some animosity between the family and the paramour and the family did not want that animosity to take center stage at a time of such anxiousness and possibly grief.

If Zero’s new direction means the family can no longer set the visitors list, you can expect said animosity to show up in hospital rooms all across the country. This will impede care at best (as docs and nurses will avoid hospital rooms during visiting hours) and may result in violence at worst.

Is Zero planning to provide additional funds for new hospital security personnel? Jobs, jobs, jobs?

stvnscott on April 16, 2010 at 9:20 AM

This is a very important issue to homosexuals. The surgeon general under Clinton says they have a life expectancy of 43 years. That means a lot less visits than normal people which have life expectancies 60, 70 80 years.

seven on April 16, 2010 at 9:22 AM

His majesty made a small issue into a big crisis and solved it swiftly.
I am not anxious to see how the death panels will be coping with terminal illnesses. 1/3 of the certain group in D. C. have aids.

seven on April 16, 2010 at 9:25 AM

If there’s a political angle to this, I’m not sure I see it.

Federal recognition of partnership, one step away from federal recognition of gay marriage.

Robert17 on April 16, 2010 at 9:32 AM

I’m a little late to this thread, but the federal government through Medicare contracts with each hospital in the country that provides services to its insured patients. The contract between Medicare and the hospital is governed by “Medicare Conditions of Participation”. This is a set of rules and standards to which the hospital agrees to conform. The same COP’s apply to Medicaid through the states because each state receives a portion of its funding through the feds.

One of the COP’s provisions is how the hospital manages patient records, visitations and keeps family informed. By signing the executive order Oblama simply tells the powers at COP’s to say hospitals can’t discriminate in visitation and presto, your executive order is implemented.

By the way, the COP’s are not mandatory, but if you don’t contract with them you can’t receive Medicare or Medicaid payment. If you fail the inspection that occurs periodically you are disqualified from M and M. There is no negotiation in the process and the feds say “here are the COP’s” comply!

This is how Oblama is able to issue this order.

hip shot on April 16, 2010 at 9:35 AM

Having worked in and around hospitals for over 20 years, I can say that I personally have never seen limitation of visitors based on anything but the patient’s wishes or condition. There is no Nurse Ratched outside a patient’s room asking for orientation identification. Staff just don’t care and don’t have time to care about what, in terms of patient care, is really trivial. As far as I can see, this is just a “See, I really do care” vote buyer by Obama.

inmypajamas on April 16, 2010 at 9:40 AM

As many people have stated, I don’t get this. I have no family in Dallas, so when I had my cancer surgery last year, my best friend/sorority sister brought me to the hospital, sat with me in the recovery room after surgery and stayed with me the next day until they finally got around to releasing me. I put her and her sister down as points of contact for release of information and she had medical power of attorney for me. She also took care of contacting my parents in Pennsylvania after I was out of surgery to let them know everything went well.

What, was there something preventing me from having anyone with me while I went through major surgery just because I have no biological family in town? News to me.

Alia on April 16, 2010 at 9:15 AM

Hope you’re doing well Alia!

I was thinking the same thing? Who says ones neighbor can’t be the patient’s POA?

I’m NOT gay, but I can tell you if I wanted to be with my best female friend during a hospital stay and if push came to shove, I would suddenly become her sister.

Oink on April 16, 2010 at 9:47 AM

Wonder if he is doing that to apologize to his gay lover Larry Sinclair?!

BobAnthony on April 16, 2010 at 9:52 AM

There is absolutely no comparison to Obama’s “order” and what President Bush did with stem cell research. Bush didn’t tell anyone they couldn’t do research, he just said the government would not pay for it under certain circumstances. Obama on the other hand, with his customary arrogance and mistaken believe that he is King, has issued an edict to his subjects. I have no problem with the issue involved but I do have a problem with “His Highness” issuing directives to the common folk.

vegasguy on April 16, 2010 at 9:57 AM

It is common practice for hospitals to deny visitation to non-family members

–From an article in today’s Wall Street Journal.

Jimbo3 on April 16, 2010 at 10:08 AM

If Zero’s new direction means the family can no longer set the visitors list, you can expect said animosity to show up in hospital rooms all across the country. This will impede care at best (as docs and nurses will avoid hospital rooms during visiting hours) and may result in violence at worst.
stvnscott on April 16, 2010 at 9:20 AM

What will happen if things gets out of hand is that hospitals will just stop visitation in problematic areas and use the case quoted above as legal justification.

inmypajamas on April 16, 2010 at 10:10 AM

Issuing these EO’s reinforces zero’s sense of all powerfulness. Keeps his ego built up and the arrogant factor in the B+ range.

Kissmygrits on April 16, 2010 at 10:25 AM

The surgeon general under Clinton says they have a life expectancy of 43 years.

seven on April 16, 2010 at 9:22 AM

Were you offering the authority of “the surgeon general under Clinton” as a reason to believe or not to believe?

Kralizec on April 16, 2010 at 10:27 AM

There is absolutely no comparison to Obama’s “order” and what President Bush did with stem cell research. Bush didn’t tell anyone they couldn’t do research, he just said the government would not pay for it under certain circumstances. Obama on the other hand, with his customary arrogance and mistaken believe that he is King, has issued an edict to his subjects. I have no problem with the issue involved but I do have a problem with “His Highness” issuing directives to the common folk.

vegasguy on April 16, 2010 at 9:57 AM

–There is a comparison. Hospitals don’t need to follow the Executive Order. They just don’t receive federal funding if they don’t. Bush said they can do stem cell research. They just don’t get federal funding for that if they do.

Jimbo3 on April 16, 2010 at 10:40 AM

I also don’t see why discrimination policy (or stem-cell policy, for that matter) should be set unilaterally by the president

Criminy….He won. You must have forgotten.

BobMbx on April 16, 2010 at 10:46 AM

Of course, in a perfect world, all hospitals would instantly ban ALL visitation.

Just complying with the law. In order to not discriminate, we’ve decided to prohibit any and all patient visitors.

BobMbx on April 16, 2010 at 10:49 AM

It is common practice for hospitals to deny visitation to non-family members
–From an article in today’s Wall Street Journal.

Jimbo3 on April 16, 2010 at 10:08 AM

That’s according to the group pushing for the EO, the writer of the article historically covers gay issues from this angle.

In reality, other than intensive care areas, visitation during normal hours is not an issue any healthcare provider cares about.

batterup on April 16, 2010 at 10:50 AM

Oh my. Isn’t he special.
Another meaningless proclamation forbidding something that essentially isn’t practiced by the vast majority of hospitals. Must not have anything else to say on TV today.

n0doz on April 16, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Government money, government control. What does that sound like?

LarryG on April 16, 2010 at 11:33 AM

I’m vaguely surprised this wasn’t already the case, but good.

TheUnrepentantGeek on April 16, 2010 at 11:34 AM

Obama Orders hospitals…?

While your at it Obama, can you Order McDonalds to include Fries free with every meal.

Ya know, while your in the Orderin’ mood.

Thune on April 16, 2010 at 11:54 AM

I am gay. This is ridiculous. If you are in a long-term relationship get a power of attorney signed by both partners.

SC.Charlie on April 16, 2010 at 12:29 PM

This is stupid. I work in healthcare; our corporation has 12 hospitals and not one of them unilaterally permits only immediate family visitations or limits a medical power of attorney. Of course these are left to the patient.

And anyone who has half a brain, gay or straight, will have a medical power of attorney before they need one.

ladyingray on April 16, 2010 at 7:41 AM

I respectfully disagree. It’s not the hospital that causes the problem. The hospital will pretty much let anyone in.

The problem arises when the family that shunned the son or daughter for being gay suddently decides that they now “love” the child in their dying moments, and after 20 years of shunning, the now loving family decides that the gay partner who (in the family’s mind) destroyed the son or daughter’s life must now be exiled.

I have seen this with my own eyes. Most people DON’T have the proper documents because most people sinply dn’t plan ahead. Without the proper documents it is the next of kin, the family, that has the legal right to EXCLUDE the gay partner.

It is wrong, it is painful, and it is egregious. This order gives the hospitals cover to allow the gay partner in the room to see their loved one.

I disagree with probably 90% of what Obama does. This I agree with. Whether it holds up in court remains to be seen, but it was the right thing to do.

JustTruth101 on April 16, 2010 at 1:58 PM

forget the visits, just let ‘em take their partner’s used bedpans home for the sweet memories…

max1 on April 16, 2010 at 2:32 PM

Jimbo3 on April 16, 2010 at 7:57 AM

Holy hell, how did you ever pass the bar?

Giving someone a PoA, whether medical or otherwise, is not the exclusive province of the married. It does not rise to the same level or substantially the same level as marital status. A person can name whomever they want as PoA: mother, brother, niece, friend, lawyer, trustee, priest — whatever. My mother used to have my PoA. We couldn’t file a joint tax return together, or carry each other on our insurance policies. And when she passed away, I inherited her IRA without any of the benefits bestowed upon spouses when they inherit property. It’s pretty well-established which arrangements are only permitted between married couples and which are not.

Would you like further proof that Arkansas makes this distinction? I have a couple of friends who are lesbians. I used to work with one of them. Our parent company, based in NY, was fine with my friend putting her partner on her health insurance plan, which was administered through Arkansas BCBS. However, since the state of Arkansas doesn’t recognized same-sex unions, the insurance company wouldn’t allow her to do so. However, both of them have been in the hospital at different times, and there were definitely cases where they were incapacitated, either because they were having surgery or were so doped up on painkillers they didn’t know which end was up. The hospital here merely asked if they had an advance directive. They do, because unlike some couples, they’ve planned ahead for this sort of thing. The directives are on file with the hospital. Never has either one of them reported: 1) Not being allowed to visit (heck, people sleep overnight in the rooms around here); 2) Being denied information about their partner’s condition, or 3) Not being consulted by the doctors when the patient was unable to speak for herself.

If we followed your line of reasoning, single people like me would be getting screwed left and right. Suppose I had no blood relatives. In fact, like one of the commenters upthread, I don’t have any blood relatives who live close enough; that’s why my friend has the PoA. She’s right here, she is in a position to make a fast decision if one needs to be made. But if she were my only option — if I were an orphan, if both of my parents were deceased and I had no siblings — are you trying to tell me that there would be no one who could legally make life or death decisions for me? That’s absolutely absurd.

NoLeftTurn on April 16, 2010 at 2:35 PM

This is a lot of phoey to make political points with his base.

I live in Wyoming, a pretty conservative state, and I work for a hospital. We would never turn down visitors based on sexual orientation. NEVER. And a patient can give anyone POA and we honor it. Did he think this was a major problem in America that he had to solve?

Can’t wait for the talking heads to tout this a great breakthrough for America. Like him signing an order to make air free to breath.

WyoMike on April 16, 2010 at 2:52 PM

I just wish that Obama would take an extended vacation. Until November 2012 would be about right.

duff65 on April 16, 2010 at 3:16 PM

What stops him from using Medicare/Medicaid/Insurance in Exchanges from making hospitals do what he wants?
This is a signal to them, I think.

MayBee on April 15, 2010 at 10:10 PM

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner.

This meaningless order, which is purely political and has absolutely nothing to do with the standard of care that a hospital provides, is a shot across the bow of Catholic, Baptist hospital systems et al.

labrat on April 16, 2010 at 4:51 PM

How many hospitals were giving people a hard time over this anyway? My guess is very few, if any. This is just a meaningless gesture to the gay community.

RadClown on April 15, 2010 at 9:27 PM

I didn’t read the remainder of the comments, but you hit it.

A patient can already designate whomever they want to have allowed at their bedside. That was true fifteen years ago, when I was still working as an RN, and it’s true now.

JannyMae on April 16, 2010 at 5:17 PM

I respectfully disagree. It’s not the hospital that causes the problem. The hospital will pretty much let anyone in.

The problem arises when the family that shunned the son or daughter for being gay suddently decides that they now “love” the child in their dying moments, and after 20 years of shunning, the now loving family decides that the gay partner who (in the family’s mind) destroyed the son or daughter’s life must now be exiled.- JustTruth101 on April 16, 2010 at 1:58 PM

I agree with you, but, really should this be something that a president have to issue a decree? Family issues are sometimes very ugly for everyone.

SC.Charlie on April 16, 2010 at 6:39 PM

–There is a comparison. Hospitals don’t need to follow the Executive Order. They just don’t receive federal funding if they don’t. Bush said they can do stem cell research. They just don’t get federal funding for that if they do.

Jimbo3 on April 16, 2010 at 10:40 AM

The part I bolded is a huge difference.

malclave on April 16, 2010 at 7:44 PM

.
Way back in 1992, I was run over by a pick up truck. My gay friend not only was allowed in my room while I was unconscious, he was in the room when I was being examined…he told me later they didn’t even ask him to step out. Quick frankly, it made me wish they were more strict not less. At my first clear moment, the hospital sent someone in with the living will.
Medicare and Medicaid already have you designate a person or persons to make decisions for you. All hospitals already have living will services so you can designate someone.
NO hospital refuses visitation to anyone except at the patients request. Anyone that has visited someone in the hospital knows this.
The only controversy that has arisen is when family mmembers object the BF/GF of the patient. This happens to straight couples as well as gays.
Obama’s order does nothing to improve visitation rights to anyone.He is merely trying to secure votes and supporters.

LeeSeneca on April 17, 2010 at 3:07 AM

There is a comparison. Hospitals don’t need to follow the Executive Order. They just don’t receive federal funding if they don’t. Bush said they can do stem cell research. They just don’t get federal funding for that if they do.

Jimbo3 on April 16, 2010

Bush did NOT say they could not do stem cell research with federal funds.
His order was no funds for EMBRYONIC stem cell research that requires the destruction of new embryos.
Bush funded hundreds of millions to maintain and distribute embryonic stem cell lines already in existence at the time of his order. They were used for most of the worlds embryonic stem cell research No presidential or congressional ban of adult stem cell research funding ever existed.
Some scientist claimed that the existing embryonic stem cell lines were contaminated with biological byproducts arising from the method used to start the lines, but later studies of new privately funded embryonic cell lines concluded that “contamination” was part of the natural process of the cells every multiplying nature.

LeeSeneca on April 17, 2010 at 3:29 AM

So Jimbo, manage to find a case yet where a medical PoA was invalidated due to sexual orientation?

I’m telling you, this EO is a solution in search of a problem!

cs89 on April 17, 2010 at 9:24 AM

Obama orders this, Obama orders that, Obama orders the other, Obama orders…Obama orders…. Sick and tired of being ‘ordered’ by someone who seldom knows what he’s takling about.

jeanie on April 17, 2010 at 10:24 AM

I’ve never had any issues visiting anyone in the hospital, related or not. There are age restrictions so that little kids don’t pull on cords or tubes or anything, but any adult can visit any other person, so far as I can see.

Bingo. I do remember, when I was very young (between the ages of 5-10) things being different than they are now. My maternal grandfather was chronically ill and spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital. We were little, yes, but there were visiting hours and restrictions on ICU.

But now that I’m an adult, the restrictions on who – and when – people can visit are pretty much determined by the patient. When my mother-in-law was in ICU early 2009, we were able to go see her any time, as were any of the family and friends. When I had my children, no one said a word to me about who came and when…that was my decision alone.

So this is one area that makes no sense.

As for PoA, I was included in some legal documents for a relative of my husband…but I was not married to him when this happened. The same documents would exist if we divorced, so I’d have financial and other legal obligations to a person I’m not biologically related to.

A good lawyer should be able to draft PoA and other documents so anyone can hold the PoA…I’m sure there are elderly persons without family, people alienated from their families, and others who have friends and non-related persons who have PoA.

As cs89 said, a solution in search of a problem.

englishqueen01 on April 17, 2010 at 10:36 AM

I actually have no problem with the outcome, i have a problem with having a King. I didn’t want to live in a monarchy.

WashingtonsWake on April 17, 2010 at 12:01 PM

to expand on that a tiny big:

So, today, I agree with him. Anyone should be able to designate anyone as allowed to visit them in the hospital. It’s really bad when hospitals make the decisions there. HOWEVER, what happens next time when i don’t agree with him? This idea of a president being able to unilaterally by fiat force his will upon others is scary. I get how he is doing it with moneys he is responsible for — but that doesn’t really make me feel any better. He has power and he is willing to use it without regard to the people.

WashingtonsWake on April 17, 2010 at 12:04 PM

while i find it a token gesture, i do appreciate it, i sat waiting for surgery for 3 hours all alone and everyone around me got to bring their family to wish them well before their operations and i didn’t get that. it was kinda shitty.
as for everyone that finds this a sign of the end of times i wish you would worry more about the deficit

Zekecorlain on April 17, 2010 at 4:23 PM

Not sure I understand, Zeke.

Are you stating that you had surgery, the hospital allowed family members in to visit, but you asked to have a samesex partner visit you and were denied due to hospital policy?

cs89 on April 17, 2010 at 5:56 PM

A lot of people who work in hospitals are gay. Since the 70s, except for an occasional pissing match between a family and someone’s lover, I’ve never heard of anyone not being allowed to visit. And the last incident I heard of was decades ago.

Zeke: I call bull$h*t. If you told them that was your support person or that you had no family there for you, they would have let the person in. The hospital was not discriminating but only trying to keep pre-op from becoming grand central station.

Blake on April 17, 2010 at 8:47 PM

This is just another irrelevant “straw horse” being used by Obama to grab some headlines for the purpose of distracting us from the task of repealing the abomination the Dems passed under the phony title “Health Care”.

HIPPA, contract law, and decades of legal precedent made this a complete non-issue a long time ago: you can (and always could) appoint ANY competent adult to have your medical power of attorney.

landlines on April 17, 2010 at 10:27 PM

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