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The landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA) included an anti-discrimination provision – the Health Care Rights Law – otherwise known as Section 1557.  This provision prohibits discrimination by certain health programs or facilities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration recently released a proposed rule (not yet … Read more

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released research drawn from the 2013-14 National Health Interview Survey highlighting health disparities between LGBT and other older people (age 65 or older). The National Health Interview Survey is a wide-ranging survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics … Read more

On October 5, 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced final rules concerning its requirements for Meaningful Use Stage 3 of its health records initiative. These measures have the potential to reduce health disparities among elder lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (transgendered) (LGBT) patients.  The final rules require providers to have the … Read more

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recently issued a Survey and Certification Tool, with an introduction by Secretary Greenlee of the Administration for Community Living (ACL) within the Department of Health and Human Services.  The focus of the video learning modules is to provide useful information to long-term care facility staff about … Read more

In May 2014, the Administration for Community Living (ACL), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services,  issued guidance applicable to all ACL grantees concerning the federal government's policy on same-sex marriages following the Supreme Court Decision in  United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013).[1] The Court in Windsor found that … Read more

On May 8, 2014, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) introduced a bill to amend the Social Security Act so that all legal marriages are appropriately recognized.  See: http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/7ada7247-d7b0-40e5-bece-d684e3c969e2/same-act—one-pager-final.pdf.   The bill, called the SOCIAL SECURITY AND MARRIAGE EQUALITY (SAME) ACT OF 2014, would ensure that all same-sex spouses receive equal treatment under … Read more

From CMA Press Release, Thursday, August 29, 2013 …[T]he Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a memo clarifying that all beneficiaries in private Medicare plans have access to equal coverage when it comes to care in a nursing home where their spouse lives. This is the first guidance issued by HHS in response … Read more

On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States found a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. See U.S. v. Windsor, Executor of the Estate of Spyer, et al (No. 12–307).[1]  In its ruling, the Court stated that Section Three of DOMA is a "deprivation of the equal liberty … Read more

New SSA Rules on Gender Designation Last week, the Social Security Administration (SSA) published new rules that make it easier for the estimated 700,000 transgender Americans to update their Social Security records to reflect their gender designation. Prior to the new rules, individuals were required to submit documentation of specific surgeries in order to have … Read more

As a result of the Budget Control Act, which outlined mandatory cuts to both defense and non-defense discretionary programs in the event a Congressional committee could not agree to a deficit-reduction package, programs impacting the HIV community and funding are expected to be affected. According to the AIDS Institute, over $500 million would be cut … Read more

This Alert highlights elements of the 2012 annual report of the Coordinating Committee of HHS on improving the health and well being of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.[1]   This Alert also highlights work identified by HHS in its 2011 annual report, as that work anchors the agency's goals for 2012.  Background In … Read more

On July 19, 2012, the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS), Kathleen Sebelius, announced the availability of roughly $80 million dollars in grant money to increase access to HIV/AIDS care, including eliminating waiting lists,[1] which have been a challenge in operating the Aids Drug Assistance Program. A Global Pandemic HIV/AIDS remains a global pandemic … Read more

June marks Pride month across the country, a time of honoring and celebrating the contributions made by the LGBT community to our nation. Pride Month also brings opportunities to identify and address the unique health care challenges faced by LGBT individuals and their families. This week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released … Read more

In a continuation of the Obama Administration's effort to extend rights to same sex couples, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a new State Medicaid Director Letter 11-006 (SMDL).  There are currently federal protections against homelessness and financial ruin that apply to heterosexual couples.  The SMDL sets out steps that states are … Read more

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recently issued new rules for Medicare and Medicaid participating hospitals that require written policies protecting patients’ rights to choose their visitors during a stay in the hospital.[1] The landmark rules ensure same-sex partners will have visitation rights, along with friends and other family members.[2] The final … Read more