A hospital administrator in Tennessee is set to issue an apology to a lesbian couple after one of the women was denied the right to visit the other, despite federal regulations that mandate visitation equality for gay couples.
Previously, Val Burke was allowed to visit her partner, who was staying in a residential unit at the Rolling Hills Hospital in Franklin, Tenn., but only when accompanied by her partner's mother. Burke was denied several requests to visit on her own. The couple lived together for three years before Burke's partner was admitted to the hospital.
"I went to visit her at the appropriate visiting time and was turned away," Burke told Out and About newspaper. She added that she felt it was even more pertinent to visit her during the holidays, since her partner's other family members were out of town.
Rolling Hills CEO Richard Bangert said refusing Burke the ability to see her partner was a "human error," Nashville's Tennessean reports.
"I will apologize and work with her directly," he said. "I take it very personally. This is not representative of the hospital."
According to the Human Rights Campaign, which worked with the Tennessee Equality Project to advocate on Burke's behalf, all hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid must allow patients to confirm who can and cannot visit them.