December 2012. This two-page handout provides health center board members with a brief overview of LGBT people and their health needs as well as action steps for working with health center leadership to create a welcoming environment for LGBT patients. Click here to download this handout from the National Association of Community Health Centers and the National LGBT Health Education Center, The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health.
July 12, 2012. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) within the Department of Health and Human Services wrote a letter clarifying that under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), individuals are protected from discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sex stereotyping. OCR does and will continue to investigate all complaints filed under Section 1557. OCR has posted an FAQ here. OCR has plans to issue future guidance on Section 1557 but until it is released, OCR suggests visiting its website to ensure that individuals, community organizations, and providers know their rights.
3. Improving the Health Care of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People: Understanding and Eliminating Health Disparities
This brief from the National LGBT Health Education Center offers a comprehensive overview of the major issues relevant to the health and health care of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The authors discuss LGBT demographics, terminology, and concepts; they also review LGBT health disparities across the life span. Clinicians and health care organizations will learn steps they can take to improve access to patient-centered care for their LGBT patients, including collecting data on sexual orientation and gender identity, creating a welcoming environment and providing interventions that respond to LGBT disparities.
The National LGBT Health Education Center provides educational programming and consultation for health care organizations throughout the nation and the world with the goal of eliminating health disparities among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The Education Center is a part of The Fenway Institute, the research, training, and health policy division of Fenway Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center.
January 12, 2012. As a follow-up to the LGBT listening sessions HHS recently held across the country, today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a summary update - “Better Health and Well-Being: Making Improvements for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender (LGBT) Americans.” The document summarizes specific actions that HHS has taken through 2011, at the direction of President Obama and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, to promote equal treatment of LGBT Americans, provide enhanced resources for LGBT health issues, and develop better information regarding LGBT health needs. The update also summarizes how the Affordable Care Act is improving access to health coverage for LGBT Americans. Click here to go directly to the summary document and here for additional background information.
5. Jamal M. Edwards, President and CEO of Howard Brown Health Center, Named to 2011 Class of Top Chicago Industry Leaders
December 5, 2011. Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) President and CEO, Jamal M. Edwards, has been named to Crain’s Chicago Business’ coveted class of 2011 40-under-40 list for his continuous commitment to the center’s mission to eliminate the disparities in health care experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. Read more about Mr. Edwards’ accomplishments in HBHC’s news release. Founded in 1974, HBHC is one of the nation's largest health care and research organizations, primarily serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and its allies. With an annual budget of approximately $18 million, it is the largest such organization in the Midwest and serves more than 36,000 adults and youth each year throughout the region. As an innovative and growing patient-centered health home, HBHC provides primary medical care, behavioral health services, and specialty chronic and infectious disease services, and conducts nationally-renowned clinical and behavioral research.
November 8, 2011. This Field Guide from The Joint Commission contains strategies, practice examples, resources, tools, and testimonials that hospitals and other health care organizations can use to improve communication with and provide culturally competent, patient- and family-centered care to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients and families. Content is organized around five domains: Leadership; Provision of Care, Treatment and Services; Workforce; Data Collection and Use; and Patient, Family, and Community Engagement. The Joint Commission suggests that the Field Guide can be useful as an organizational self-assessment tool and can specifically be helpful with: revising policies, procedures, and practices; identifying gaps or areas needing improvement for quality improvement efforts; evaluating compliance with relevant laws, regulations, and standards; identifying risk or patient safety issues; identifying or revising strategic initiatives or outreach efforts; and developing staff and patient survey questions. The Field Guide is an important resource given the Joint Commission’s new and revised patient-centered communication standards that prohibit hospitals from discriminating based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, and that ensure access to a support person of the patient’s choice. Click here to download a free copy of the Field Guide.
October 31, 2011. The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Women’s Health USA 2011, the tenth edition of an annual data book identifying priorities, trends and disparities in women’s health, is now available. For the first time, the special population section of the report features data on the health of lesbian and bisexual women. Pronounced health disparities exist by sexual orientation. Both lesbian and bisexual women reported rates of smoking and binge drinking approximately twice as high heterosexual women. In 2006-2008, nearly half of lesbian and bisexual women reported smoking, compared to less than one-quarter of heterosexual women. Bisexual women were also less likely than heterosexual women to report having health insurance. Women’s Health USA 2011 is available in print and online here. This online version includes individually downloadable data tables and corresponding figures. Print copies can be ordered through the HRSA Information Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-HRSA or online here.
8. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield Speak at the Annual Meeting of the National Coalition for LGBT Health
October 17 to 18, 2011. In their remarks to the 2011 Annual Meeting of the National Coalition for LGBT Health, both U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Heath Resources and Services Administration Administrator Mary Wakefield highlighted the Administration’s progress in the last two and a half years to ensure the health and well-being of the LGBT community. They highlighted Federal initiatives and funding awards as well examples of how the Administration is working together with the LGBT community to reach full equality for LGBT Americans. Read Kathleen Sebelius’ speech here. Read Mary Wakefield’s speech here.
9. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health releases Version 7 of the Standards of Care
September 25, 2011. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) released a newly-revised edition of the Standards of Care (SOC) for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People. The SOC is considered the standard document of reference on caring for the transsexual, transgender, and gender nonconforming population. The newly-revised SOC will help health professionals better understand how they can offer the most effective care to these individuals. The SOC focuses on primary care, gynecologic and urologic care, reproductive options, voice and communication therapy, mental health services and hormonal and surgical treatment. Click here to read more about the SOC on WPATH’s Web site and to download a free PDF copy.
Members of the NACHC LGBT Work Group organized and delivered an educational session at NACHC’s 2011 Community Health Institute (CHI) in San Diego, CA. The session, entitled "Improving Cultural Proficiency, Especially for LGBT Patients," highlighted health issues for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and explored how community health centers can improve their services for these patients and their families, including cultural proficiency training on LGBT issues; partnerships with LGBT organizations; implementation of LGBT-specific health services; recruitment of LGBT health professionals; standardized data collection and analyses regarding sexual orientation and gender identity; and inclusion of LGBT issues in policy and advocacy priorities. Participants also learned about opportunities afforded by national health care reform to advance knowledge, awareness, and skills to address LGBT health disparities in all health care settings, including funding for LGBT community health centers; ensuring equal access to the new health insurance products offered through state health insurance exchanges; support for LGBT patient engagement and use of health information technologies; and development of medical home models appropriate for LGBT patients and communities. Click here to view the presentations from speakers Ignatius Bau, Judith Bradford, Elizabeth Wilson, and Robert Garofalo.
This Information Bulletin provides guidance on furnishing services to meet the needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) patients. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has identified lesbian and gay Americans as one of six U.S. population groups affected by health disparities. Because LGBT patients may not always feel comfortable self-identifying as LGBT, health centers should assume that they are already serving LGBT patients. To assist health centers in meeting the needs of this population, this Information Bulletin: Distinguishes between sexual and gender identity and sexual behavior; identifies risk factors for LGBT health; describes service delivery issues that arise in furnishing care to LGBT patients; and offers strategies to improve services to LGBT patients. For those health centers interested in learning more about providing services to LGBT patients, references for additional and training materials are provided at the end of this Bulletin.
At a time when lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals—often referred to under the umbrella acronym LGBT—are becoming more visible in society and more socially acknowledged, clinicians and researchers are faced with incomplete information about their health status. While LGBT populations often are combined as a single entity for research and advocacy purposes, each is a distinct population group with its own specific health needs. Furthermore, the experiences of LGBT individuals are not uniform and are shaped by factors of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geographical location, and age, any of which can have an effect on health-related concerns and needs. Researchers still have a great deal to learn and face a number of challenges in understanding the health needs of LGBT populations.
To help assess the state of the science, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) asked the IOM to evaluate current knowledge of the health status of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations; to identify research gaps and opportunities; and to outline a research agenda to help NIH focus its research in this area. The IOM finds that to advance understanding of the health needs of all LGBT individuals, researchers need more data about the demographics of these populations, improved methods for collecting and analyzing data, and an increased participation of sexual and gender minorities in research. Building a more solid evidence base for LGBT health concerns will not only benefit LGBT individuals, but also add to the repository of health information we have that pertains to all people.