CMS Clarifies Spousal Relationship Terms for Long Term Care

In an S&C letter issued Friday, December 12th by CMS, “Clarification of Terms Implicating the Spousal Relationship in Regulations and Guidance for Medicare- and Medicaid-certified Providers and Suppliers,” the agency states its intent to clarify several terms used in regulatory language and guidance.

The terms, “spouse,” “marriage,” “family,” and “relative” have all be updated to ensure that the definitions for these terms are consistent with the United States vs. Windsor case in which the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

In Friday’s Federal Register, a rule proposed by CMS to ensure that certain requirements were also consistent with this decision is now open for commenting. The rule would also revise certain definitions and provisions of patients’ rights to ensure that same-sex spouses who are in “legally valid” marriages are recognized and provided with the same rights as opposite-sex couples.

View CMS S&C Letter Ref: S&C: 15-13-ALL.

View the proposed rule.

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