LGBT Patients Receive Better Treatment

WASHINGTON — On the wake of the Supreme Court DOMA decision that ruled the federal same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, a report released on July 11 by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation shows that American hospitals and clinics are becoming more committed to equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) patients.

Research historically show that LGBT people sometimes experience health issues and barriers related to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression. This often means that they avoid or delay care or receive inappropriate or inferior care because of perceived or real homophobia or transphobia by health care providers and institutions. This is particularly heightened for LGBT sex workers, for example the stars of adult websites such as shemalehd sometimes claim that they feel unable to receive necessary healthcare.

The report said that a record total of 718 health care facilities — 121 of which are medical centers for veterans — in all 50 states pledged to give equal treatment to LGBT patients. It highlights details of the most recent Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), an annual survey conducted by the HRC Foundation since 2007. The 718 facilities listed in the survey are part of a 153 percent increase in participation compared to last year’s survey. It also said that 74 percent of respondents received recognition as Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality based on four criteria for equitable LGBT care, which was a 199 percent increase in facilities to achieve the status.

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) made significant strides in its commitment to LGBT care, with 121 of the nation’s 151 VHA medical centers participating in the survey, as opposed to just one VHA participant in 2012. Almost 80 percent of those VHA facilities were awarded with the Equality Leader status.

Ninety-three percent of the 2013 survey participants prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual patients, and a record 87 percent ban discrimination against transgender patients. Also, 90 percent of respondents give equal visitation rights to same-sex couples and parents.

The 2013 survey required the participating facilities to document that employees in key work areas received expert training in the health needs of LGBT patients. Because of this, about 5,000 health care staff members participated in training provided through HEI.

According to a 2010 survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 28 percent of transgender and gender nonconforming people postponed medical care due to concerns related to discrimination. The HRC Foundation survey, however, indicates that health care facilities are aware of this mentality and working to bridge the gap of equality for LGBT patients.