Do you know how to protect your healthcare?

Published: June 30, 2011

Dear John,
WATCH: LGBT Americans face unfair and dangerous healthcare discrimination.
Check out the Healthcare Equality Index 2011 – and make sure you know how to protect yourself.

Every day, LGBT people are denied badly needed medical care. Some of us have even been physically or verbally abused by healthcare providers. And sometimes the fear of discrimination can keep people in our community from seeking healthcare when we need it the most.

Today, HRC released our Healthcare Equality Index 2011, which rates 375 medical facilities on their policies related to LGBT patients and our families. In the decade I’ve worked with HRC’s Family Project, we’ve seen amazing progress – but the sad reality is that discrimination still exists, and it can ruin lives.
Do you know how to protect yourself from healthcare discrimination? Do your friends and family?
Click here to learn more – then share this life-saving information with everyone you know.

For Cecilia Chung – a member of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and a transgender woman – healthcare discrimination almost had deadly consequences. Suffering from severe abdominal pain, she went to the emergency room, only to be mocked, have her symptoms brushed aside, and finally, get escorted out by a security guard. A week later, she returned – and they discovered she had developed gangrene.
If she hadn’t bravely returned at the eleventh hour – risking another round of neglect and humiliation at the hands of hospital workers – she would have died.
Don’t let it happen to you or your loved ones. Arm yourself with the information that could save your life, and plan ahead. Here are four simple steps you can take:
• Check the hospital’s Patients’ Bill of Rights/non-discrimination policy. It should include "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression." If it doesn’t, ask an administrator why.
• Ask to see the hospital’s visitation policy. It should ensure equal access for all families with an LGBT-inclusive definition of family.
• Make sure the visitors you choose are permitted to see you by completing any necessary hospital authorization forms.
• Complete advance healthcare directives to make sure the people who know you best will be able to make healthcare decisions on your behalf and keep them in a secure place where you can access them in an emergency.
Even with President Obama issuing new, landmark federal regulations on hospital visitation and even with other great improvements in laws and hospital policies after decades of work by HRC and our friends, there’s still more we all need to do to protect ourselves from discrimination. Make sure you know how.
Learn more about healthcare discrimination, then tell your friends.
From adoption to safe schools to battling healthcare discrimination, the HRC Family Project is there to help. But it’s the support and dedication of people like you that makes our work possible.

Tom Sullivan
HRC Family Project

Leave a Reply