Out and About, Nashville's LGBT newspaper, recently reported that Rolling Hills Hospital in Franklin, Tennessee denied multiple requests by Val Burke to visit her partner who was a patient in the hospital's residential facility. Burke said she wasn't allowed visitation because she wasn't a legal spouse or family member.
The practice of excluding non-family members from hospital visitation violates federal regulations that went into effect last January. Those rules require all hospitals participating in Medicaid and Medicare programs to permit patients to designate visitors of their choosing and prohibit discrimination in visitation based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Since the Rolling Hills event, the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) is calling on all hospitals to participate in the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) Healthcare Equality Index. The annual survey rates hospitals based on how they treat LGBT patients and their partners or families.
“Denying a loving partner the right to be with his or her sick loved one shows the very personal side of anti-LGBT discrimination,” said TEP Nashville Chairman Chris Sanders. “We hope hospitals across
Tennessee and the country learn from this sad incident and ensure this never happens again. The starting point of this learning process is to participate in the Healthcare Equality Index.”
The health index survey is currently available for completion online.