CMS Proposes to Add Requirements on Rights of Same-Sex Married Couples

December 17, 2014 | Risk Management News

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a proposed rule, published in the December 12, 2014, Federal Register, that would align applicable Conditions of Participation for providers, Conditions for Coverage for suppliers, and requirements for long-term care facilities with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor, which held that a specific section of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, and with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services policy. CMS proposes to revise certain definitions and patient and resident rights provisions to ensure that same-sex spouses in legally valid marriages are recognized and given equal rights in facilities that participate in Medicare or Medicaid. Except where the relevant regulation specifically requires application or interpretation in accordance with state law, terms such as "spouse," "marriage," "family," and "representative" include a same-sex spouse, regardless of where the couple resides or the jurisdiction in which the provider is located, if the same-sex marriage was lawful where entered into.

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