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Creating an LGBTQ-friendly Practice

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Physicians who create an environment where all patients feel welcome can better meet their patients' often complex health care needs. Find recommended standards of practice with lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender patients and additional resources to assist making your practice LGBTQ-friendly.

Provide a Welcoming Environment

  1. Provide visual clues for LGBTQ patients that your practice is a safe place.
    Simple ways to create an inclusive office environment include:
    • Display brochures and educational materials about LGBTQ health concerns.
    • Visibly post a nondiscrimination statement.
    • Display posters from nonprofit LGBTQ or HIV/AIDS organizations.

    Consult the Guidelines of Care for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Patients (PDF), created by the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, for advice on communicating with LGBTQ patients, guidelines for forms and patient-provider discussions and more.
     

  2. Customize your patient intake forms.
    Examine the comprehensive Sample New Patient Intake Form that The Fenway Institute recommends for use with LGBTQ patients and see how it compares to what your practice currently uses.
     
  3. Get advice on other ways to make your practice LGBTQ-friendly.
    Listen to the Journal of Medical Practice Management podcastExpanding into the Gay and Lesbian Market: What Savvy Medical Practices Know,” an informative, half-hour-long discussion with Ellen Kahn, director of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Family Project. Learn concrete steps you can take right away.

Meet a Standard of Practice

Meet the standards of practice in caring for LGBTQ patients.
Consult the “
Community Standards of Practice for the Provision of Quality Health Care Services to LGBT Clients,” a set of recommendations created by the LGBT Health Access Project, part of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

These guidelines were designed to improve LGBTQ access to quality care and to assist clinicians and their facilities in creating responsive environments.
Find specific guidelines and standards that address the following areas:

  • Personnel
  • Client’s rights
  • Intake and assessment
  • Service planning and delivery
  • Confidentiality
  • Community outreach and health promotion

List Your Practice

      1. List your practice in the GLMA Provider Directory.

The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) is the national leader in LGBTQ health issues, and their GLMA Provider Directory is a free-to-the-public listing of LGBTQ-friendly practices in the United States.

Many LGBTQ patients looking for quality care free of discrimination choose their health care provider based on word-of-mouth recommendations and directories of known LGBTQ-friendly physicians.

Search for your practice in this directory—make sure that LGBTQ patients looking for a friendly medical environment find your practice for quality care. If your practice isn’t listed, follow the steps to create a free Provider Directory listing.

    2. See how your practice is rated on The Healthcare Equality Index or sign up to participate.

This index, created by the Human Rights Campaign, measures the equity and inclusion of how health care facilities in the United States treat their LGBTQ patients and employees. See how your facility is rated and sign up to participate if your facility is not listed.

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