Medical education group issues new guidelines for LGBT health care

diagnostics-161140_1280The Association of American Medical Colleges released today, Nov. 18, the first guidelines for training physicians to care for LGBT or gender nonconforming patients.

Until now, according to a press release, there have been no formal comprehensive standards to help medical schools and health care organizations train providers in the needs of LGBT patients.

“This groundbreaking publication represents a major step forward in giving medical schools, teaching hospitals, and health systems a roadmap for improving the care of LGBT and other individuals with differences in gender identity, gender expression, and sex development,” said Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., AAMC president and CEO, which represents all 141 accredited US and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools.

As we’ve reported, the LGBT community often experiences challenges when seeking care in doctors’ offices, community clinics, hospitals, and emergency rooms. Challenges range from lack of protocol to knowledge of LGBT issues. The executive summary describes a sample of barriers many LGBT people face, including “significant structural, interpersonal, and individual stigma concerning homosexuality persists; efforts to ‘treat’ homosexuality through so-called ‘reparative therapies’ continue in some areas, even though most professional organizations recognize them as harmful to patients.”

“Physicians and medical school faculty members are committed to treating all patients equally, yet research shows that everyone has unconscious biases that can affect how we interact with people from different experiences and backgrounds,” said Kirch. “This new resource will help train physicians to overcome these blind spots and deliver high-quality care to all patients.”

—  James Russell

Officials from Resource Center, Green Oaks discuss hospital’s LGBT policy

Officials from Resource Center Dallas met with Green Oaks Hospital administrators this week about an LGBT policy the hospital told a transgender woman it was implementing.

The policy change was explained in a letter to the woman after she sent a complaint about her recent experience at the hospital. The hospital responded with a letter stating they were adding a trans policy, but wouldn’t discuss it with Instant Tea.

RCD then sent Green Oaks a letter requesting a meeting about its LGBT policies. In the letter, RCD mentions the Joint Commission, which accredits Green Oaks, and how the commission “recently added LGBT benchmarks to its future accreditations as of this past July.”

Rafael McDonnell, RCD’s communications and advocacy manager, said hospital officials called them last week to schedule a meeting for this past Monday. He said the hospital is working on a transgender policy and RCD officials suggested a change in the language for intersex individuals in the draft they reviewed. He also said they encouraged the hospital to include trans protections in its employment nondiscrimination policy, which currently covers only sexual orientation.

McDonnell said the policy has to be reviewed by a few committees and would most likely be implemented in a few weeks.

“They’re carrying out in policy what they have been doing in practice,” he said.

Cox, RCD’s CEO,  said the policy and language were complete and comprehensive and she looked forward to working with the hospital in the future.

“We will play a role with connecting some of our people in the trans community with them to work on health issues,” she said.

Alexis Johnson, executive director of risk management for Green Oaks, refused to comment on any LGBT policy previously. After the meeting, she emailed a statement confirming the hospital is working on policies.

“We had a good meeting with the Resource Center and they were impressed with our policy,” she wrote. “We feel good about our policies and the patient care we provide and have no further comment.”

Read RCD’s letter below.

—  Dallasvoice