NSCLC: CMS Seeks Comments on Proposed Rule to Support Equal Rights for Same Sex Spouses in Medicare and Medicaid Facilities

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released proposed regulations as part of CMS’ implementation of the Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 12, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013).  Comments on the rule are due by February 10, 2015.

In response to the Windsor decision, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has adopted a policy of treating same-sex marriage on the same terms as opposite-sex marriages to the greatest extent reasonably possible.  The proposed rule aims to ensure that all legally married same-sex spouses are afforded equal rights in Medicare and Medicaid participating facilities.  CMS emphasizes that the Windsor decision and HHS policy affect all provider and supplier types.

In the proposed regulations, CMS applies the “celebration rule” of recognizing marriage between individuals of the same sex who were lawfully married under the law of the jurisdiction where the marriage was entered.  The regulations require equal treatment of same sex spouses regardless of where the couple resides or where the provider is located .

The  proposed regulations add the same sex spousal protection to ambulatory surgical centers (patient’s rights section), hospices (definition of “representative” and patient’s rights sections), hospitals (patient’s rights and laboratory services notifications) , long-term care facilities (resident’s rights, and  PASAAR evaluation criteria sections), and Community Mental Health Centers (definition of “representative” and client rights sections).

The National Senior Citizens Law Center welcomes the revisions to ensure equal protection and will be commenting in support of the revision.  NSCLC will be sharing draft comment language with the Health Network in the coming weeks.  We urge advocates to submit their own comments.  The proposed rule is available here.  More on NSCLC’s Windsor implementation work is available here

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  • LAAAC is managed by St. Barnabas Senior Services; Funded, in part, by Archstone Foundation.
  • St. Barnabas Senior Services

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