Know Thy Patients: A Primer on LGBTQ Care Accessibility

October 24, 2018 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​At the 2018 annual conference of the American Society for Health Care Risk Management (October 7-10 in Nashville), "Transgender Q&A: What the Risk Manager Needs to Know" was presented by Doug Mitchell, vice president and executive director of quality and risk management at San Gabriel Valley Medical Center in California. He described how transgender, nonbinary, and intersex individuals are outside the societal gender binary norm. Mitchell also discussed barriers transgender individuals confront, such as feelings of isolation, or ignorance on the part of family and peers, and emphasized the risk of suicide that transgender individuals face. Risk managers have a duty to "make sure that we have services accessible to transgender patients," said Mitchell. He described three factors supporting transgender patient care: organization and human resources policies; leadership support; and staff and provider education. He also pointed to discrimination transgender individuals face related to employment, housing, and health insurance (e.g., a transgender man who needs gynecologic care). Mitchell recommended that the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) patients, staff, and visitors be recognized in ethics and human resources policies, such as education requirements, restroom requirements, housing, and more, as appropriate. "What is the perspective of chief staff members?" asked Mitchell.

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