Wednesday, July 4, 2012
News for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Physicians
Report finds great progress toward LGBT health care equality
The number of American hospitals striving to treat lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) patients equally and respectfully is on the rise, according to a new report released by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation.
The report details the results of the most recent Healthcare Equality Index, an annual survey administered by the HRC Foundation. This year's survey found a 40 percent increase in rated facilities, which totaled 407 nationwide. It also found an impressive 162 percent increase in the number of facilities achieving the status of "Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality," a special recognition given to facilities earning a perfect rating by meeting four core criteria for LGBT patient-centered care laid out in the survey.
The survey, which asks hospitals to self-evaluate visitation policies, employment and patient non-discrimination policies, and training in LGBT-centered care, found that an increasing number of hospitals are now explicitly banning discrimination against LGBT patients.
Additionally, of the more than 400 hospitals and clinics surveyed, 65 percent now have policies granting equal visitation rights to same-sex couples and same-sex parents. There is still great room for improvement, however. As an example, only 66 percent of responding hospitals currently offer a "partner" or "significant other" option when recording marital status.
Whether you work in one of the surveyed hospitals or have your own practice, the AMA offers resources to help physicians administer more LGBT-friendly care.
Study: Same-sex couples more likely to influence partner's health
Same-sex couples are more likely to influence each other's health habits for better or for worse, a new study in the journal Social Science & Medicine reveals.
Researchers followed 20 heterosexual marriages, 15 long-term gay partnerships and 15 long-term lesbian relationships to determine which members had the most influence on their significant other's health. They specifically examined "health work," any activity or dialogue concerned with enhancing another's health.
The results revealed that women in heterosexual marriages bore the brunt of influencing health habits for their spouses, with the couples usually labeling the wife as the "health police."
Conversely, lesbian and gay couples were significantly more likely to mutually reinforce health behaviors than were heterosexual couples. The same-sex partnership "structure results in a unique relational context for cooperative, more egalitarian health work processes to emerge," the researchers wrote.
In addition to reinforcing healthy living habits, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender physicians and their partners can find support through the AMA Alliance. The Alliance provides a community of support for medical families through advocacy and education and now allows same-sex partners of AMA members to join their ranks.