Friday, April 23, 2010

President Obama’s LGBT Healthcare Memo and What You’ll Need

Healthcare decisions for the LGBT community are about to become much better. They are also going to need a bit of work on the part of anyone who is considering having any real say in how their loved ones will to be able to make healthcare decisions for them.

The new directive issued by President Obama to The Health and Human Services mandates that all hospitals give LGBT patients the right to choose whom should decide life and death decisions for them, should they not be able to do so themselves. This would only apply to hospitals who receive either Medicaid or Medicare funding from the government.

Today I received an email from Joe Solmonese, President of HRC ( The Human Rights Campaign ). In it he requests that we spread the information to anyone who may benefit from it. In that vein, I will try my best to give the pertinent points of the email. Following are the Links you will need.

To find complete advance healthcare directives and visitation authorization forms as well as review the laws in your state, please see this website. You will be able to download the available forms for your state.

If you wish to see a list of the various documents that you may need, you can do so by going to the website here. Please remember to take the time to go through each form and what it may mean to you. It is also advisable that you not only make certain you and your significant other talk about your wishes, but also let your attorney ( if you have one), your primary doctor and your relevant family members know your wishes as well. This may save some communication difficulties should they later arise.

Lastly, if you would like to see a breakdown of the healthcare index to see what the situation is in your particular “neck of the woods”, you can read more on this page.

Please remember:
  •  Although many of these forms, such as a healthcare proxy in many states (i.e., New York) do not need to be done by an attorney, it is always advisable.
  • These documents once signed, are like any other legally binding documents, and as such should not be taken lightly. They will need to be changed should you later decide that you wish someone else to make decisions on your behalf. This cannot be changed orally, you will have to draft up new documents.
  • Should you be so inclined, do not have a family member (or yourself) notarize your documents. As a licensed notary, I will warn you against this. Questions of impropriety and validity may arise if you do this. In most states a notary public will charge you a few dollars ( unless you live near a Supreme Court, where it can be done for free). It is best to always have a disinterested party notarize your documents.
  • Health care documents are not only for the LGBT. Everyone should have their documents in order.
 No one likes to think about the unthinkable (i.e., illness, death, bankruptcy). The fact is that getting ill is not cheap and for us who are gay, it is sometimes even more complicated. I hope this information is of some help to you and yours, should you ever need it. Trust me, it’s better to be prepared than to have to lament later on.

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