LGBT Community Still Has Hurdles In Health Care Equality

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This year the Healthcare Equality Index, a report produced by the Human Rights Campaign that shows which hospitals and health care facilities score best on measures relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients, visitors and employees, is flashing some big numbers:

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that only 407 health care facilities in the U.S. participated in the Healthcare Equality Index, a voluntary survey that’s been around since 2007. It’s a big gain in respondents over previous years, but considering that there are more than 5,700 hospitals in the U.S., there’s still a ways to go. And there are 18 states in the U.S. with no providers that have participated in the HEI.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says while the report shines a light on facilities that are giving great service to the LGBT community there is more to be done. At a press conference at Howard University Hospital on Tuesday, Sebelius announced that HHS released a new progress report on LGBT health care in the U.S.

Last year Sebelius promised to incorporate the LGBT community into federal health care data collection — something the federal government hasn’t done before — and said questions addressed to the LGBT community will be “market-tested” before they will be finalized. This report is expected to address those data collection concerns.

But the secretary says there are still barriers for the LGBT community: “Today LGBT Americans face numerous barriers to health from providers who just don’t understand their unique health needs, to difficulty getting health insurance because they can’t get coverage through a partner or a spouse. And unfortunately way too many LGBT individuals face discrimination and bigotry in the health care system.”

A 2010 report conducted by Lambda Legal, a civil rights group focused on LGBT legal issues, shows that 73 percent of transgender respondents and 29 percent of lesbian gay and bisexual respondents said “they believed they would be treated differently by medical personnel because of their LGBT status.”

This year’s survey asked participating facilities about how and if they give their patients a chance to identify themselves as LGBT. More than 57 percent of participating health care facilities said they allow their patients to note if they are in a “non-state-registered same-sex partnership.” Furthermore, 9 percent of this year’s participants in the HEI noted that they offer a transgender-inclusive health benefit plan — something that is atypical for most U.S. health care plans.

Continue reading the article by Shefali S. Kulkarni, Kaiser Health News, here...

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  1. Dana Michelle Scruggs's avatar
    Dana Michelle Scruggs
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    Dana’s Story
    (Condensed)


    I am a Male to female Transsexual. I am also a master's Degree level Registered Dietitian. I have been unemployed for 48 straight months now, ever since I came out as a Transsexual in the work place. I have been turned down for each and every job that I have applied for. The most disparaging part of my story is that the very same thing happened when I applied to "Christian" Hospitals. The most blatant discrimination of me came from Adventist based hospitals. I only asked for "The Right to Work". I did not ask to become a member of their church. I just wanted to work. Unfortunately, transsexuals have the worst part of the LGBT discrimination in the work place! Why? We cannot hide or time our "coming out". When I was on hormone replacement therapy, my body began to change. The day came when I could no longer hide the physiological changes that my body was going through! The end result . . . the women (not the men) whom I worked with proceeded to make my life a living hell on earth! They ostracized me and harassed me on a daily basis until I could not take it anymore . . . then I attempted suicide. I resigned from my job just six months before I would have been fully vested in the organization. I had no choice. I have been unemployed ever since. I could not even draw unemployment because I resigned from my job. I spent the next four years applying for every job in my field. I always got the job interview but never the job. I did not qualify for housing or other assistance programs because I was a single woman without children. Hence, I qualified for absolutely nothing! I used up all of my life savings and retirement trying to survive over the last four years. I have nothing left! I was evicted from my apartment (due to inability to pay rent) on February 26th, 2013. I lived in a hotel room from March 1st, 2013 until May 15th, 2013. I then had no more money and was about to be asked to leave the hotel, when a woman asked me if I would like to stay with her for a while. I am now sleeping on a cot in a hotel room of a stranger. I am penniless. Did I mention that I have a Master's Degree and am just about to complete my second Master's Degree with a perfect 4.0 Grade Point Average?

    Yet, these "Christian" Organizations say, "We did no harm."

    All I wanted was "The Right to Work"!


    Sincerely,



    Dana M. Scruggs
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