Medicare regulations grant hospital patients the right to choose their visitors, including same-sex spouses and same-sex domestic partners. Under rules established for Medicare and Medicaid participating hospitals, patients at such hospitals have the right to choose their own visitors during a hospital stay, including a visitor who is a same-sex spouse or same-sex domestic partner. A key provision of the rules specifies that all visitors chosen by the patient (or his or her representative) must enjoy “full and equal” visitation privileges consistent with the wishes of the patient. The rules further require hospitals to have written policies and procedures detailing patients’ visitation rights, as well as the circumstances in which the hospitals may restrict visitation in medically appropriate circumstances.
If you believe a Medicare or Medicaid participating hospital has violated these rules, you may file a complaint with the New Jersey Department of Health. To file an online complaint, please visit http://www.state.nj.us/health/healthfacilities/hotlines.shtml. You may also file a complaint by mail. To do so, please print a complaint form available at http://www.state.nj.us/health/healthfacilities/hotlines.shtml and mail it to:
New Jersey Department of Health
Division of Health Facilities Evaluation and Licensing
PO Box 367
Trenton, NJ 08625-0367
If you do not wish to provide your name, you may also call the New Jersey Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-800-792-9770.