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Advocacy groups issue hospital guide for treating transgender patients

Tuesday, November 5, 2013
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A group of LGBT advocacy organizations have jointly released a unique, groundbreaking publication to provide guidance to U.S. hospitals seeking to improve health care for transgender patients.

transgender-hospital-policyThe publication — “Creating Equal Access to Quality Health Care for Transgender Patients” — answers many hospital administrators’ questions about transgender patients, shows them how to reduce bias and insensitivity, and addresses key issues such as confidentiality, room assignments, bathroom access, and admitting/registration procedures.

The guidance, which also includes unique model policies that can be adapted to meet the needs of individual hospitals, was prepared by Lambda Legal, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and the LGBT Rights Committee of the New York City Bar Association, with pro bono assistance from Hogan Lovells US, LLP.

“Lambda Legal’s Help Desk gets scores of calls from transgender people who are facing discrimination or being denied care when they need it. Transgender people face significant barriers to equal, consistent, and high-quality health care,” said Dru Levasseur, Director of the Transgender Rights Project at Lambda Legal.

“This first-ever guide to transgender-affirming hospital policies will reduce health disparities for transgender people and offer them truly equitable care,” said Levasseur.

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Lambda Legal’s landmark 2010 survey, When Health Care Isn’t Caring, found that transgender and gender-nonconforming people experience discrimination in healthcare and barriers to care two to three times more often than lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.

And in the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 19 percent of the 6,000+ respondents reported having been refused health care outright because of their transgender status, while 28 percent had postponed necessary care when they were sick or injured and 33 percent had delayed or not sought preventive care because of prior health care discrimination.

Often times, rather than endure abuse and poor treatment, many transgender people go without care, endangering and worsening their health, according to the advocacy groups.

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