HRC Blog

New Report Highlights LGBT Patients’ Experiences in Healthcare

A groundbreaking report released today highlights the concerns—even fears—that LGBT Americans have about the nation’s healthcare system.

Published by the National LGBT Cancer Network and co-sponsored by HRC’s Health & Aging Program, the report features touching, revealing and sometimes shocking stories of LGBT patients’ experiences. The stories underscore the importance of HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index  (HEI), which evaluates and educates healthcare facilities vis-a-vis the needs of LGBT patients.

The report focuses on the experiences of cancer patients, who often feel particularly vulnerable in healthcare, but the challenges it describes are common for other patients, too.

The report’s co-author, Cancer Network Executive Director Liz Margolies, said, "This report is . . . based on the lived experiences of people who can teach us how to make things right for LGBT patients. Their stories show us exactly what is needed to improve the climate for LGBT people in all areas of healthcare, not just cancer care."

Shane Snowdon, Director of HRC’s Health & Aging Program, hailed the new report. "It gives those of us working to transform LGBT healthcare just the patient-provided information that we need to explain to hospitals and clinics what LGBT patients experience," said Snowdon. "When they learn what’s actually going wrong for us, they’re often moved to take the HEI, educate themselves and signal their commitment to equity and inclusion."

The HEI 2013 report, to be released July 11, will show how hundreds of U.S. healthcare facilities performed on over 40 key criteria for meeting the needs of LGBT patients. In 2013, the HEI gave free LGBT training to thousands of healthcare administrators at diverse facilities nationwide. The HEI 2013 also provided each facility with a customized comprehensive checklist of best practices and policies in LGBT care, to serve as a needs assessment and strategic plan.

"Real-life stories of what LGBT patients experience are critical to improving our healthcare," Snowdon said. "HRC will be making frequent use of this new report as we educate healthcare institutions nationwide about how to provide truly welcoming, knowledgeable, equitable care."

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