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LGBTQ Patient Services Resources

Planning to Serve LGBTQ Populations

Does your organization have an official plan, strategy or goals for reducing health disparities among your patients and/or providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services to your patient population that specifically includes LGBTQ patients in addition to race, ethnicity and linguistic concerns?

To receive credit in the HEI, a facility must:
Have a written strategy or plan for reducing health disparities among LGBTQ patients and/or incorporate LGBTQ patients into your plan for reducing all patient disparities.

Resources:

In 2013, the Office of Minority Health (OMH) of the US Department of Health and Human Services released the new National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (the National CLAS Standards), which are intended to advance health equity, improve quality and help eliminate healthcare disparities by providing a blueprint for individuals and health and healthcare organizations to implement culturally and linguistically appropriate services. The CLAS Standards are a nationally recognized and utilized tool for culturally competent healthcare.

The new CLAS standards fully incorporate the concerns of LGBTQ people into the framework of culturally and linguistically appropriate care and specifically include sexual orientation and gender identity in their broader definition of culture. OMH’s accompanying publication, “A Blueprint for Advancing and Sustaining CLAS Policy and Practice,” also shares examples of health disparities experienced by LGBTQ people and includes specific reference to LGBTQ health in many of the standards. One of the standards encourages healthcare organizations to conduct ongoing assessments of the organization's CLAS-related activities and integrate CLAS-related measures into continuous quality improvement activities.

Examples:

Does your organization have an advisory or planning committee that is focused on LGBTQ patient care issues?

Resources:

Examples:

  • New York City Health and Hospitals – Bellevue created a LGBT Patient & Family Advisory Council. See their brochure to read about the council’s mission and activities.
  • Learn more about the Patient and Family Advisory Council for Gender and Sexuality at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in this post and video.
  • NYU Lutheran Medical Center explains the history, goals, and activities of its LGBT Advisory Group here.
  • LAC-USC Medical Center formed an advisory group called “LGBT Thrive” to improve LGBT patient-centered care.
  • Contra Costa Health Services has an LGBT Pride Initiative group that promotes inclusive practices and policies to ensure quality care and treatment for LGBT employees and patients.

Serving LGBTQ Popluations

Does your organization have a public way to make LGBTQ-knowledgeable and friendly providers or facilities known as such to interested patients or to make LGBTQ specific referrals?

To receive credit in the HEI, a facility must:
Publicly make LGBTQ-knowledgeable and friendly providers or facilities known as such to interested patients or provide a confidential mechanism to make LGBTQ-specific referrals.

Directories may be a facility, health system or community specific listing. Clinics need to be listed on the hospital or health system website and the contact and process for receiving referrals must be publicly promoted. Organizations can create their own online referral system or directory to tag LGBTQ-friendly providers at their facility or within their system or community.

Examples:

  • Penn Medicine has an LGBT Patient Services Handbook, which has a list of providers with expertise in LGBT health and information on important LGBT health topics.
  • Massachusetts General Hospital has an online listing of providers that volunteered to be listed in a directory due to their interest in treating and/or training with the LGBTQ patient population.
  • The Columbus Public Health Department participates in the Greater Columbus LGBTQ Health Coalition that produces an annual Pride Provider Directory.
  • The LGBT+ Service Directory flyer by NYC Health and Hospitals – Bellevue lists LGBTQ-specific health providers in one comprehensive document.

Organizations can also provide information about their LGBTQ specialty clinics:

  • The Cleveland Clinic has information about their Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Care which offers services at two different primary care health centers on a page about LGBT Health.
  • This webpage provides information about the services offered by The Pride Clinic of the MetroHealth System.
  • Kaiser Permanente has a public webpage about their Gender Specialist Team for patients who may want to find a provider for their transition process.
Does your organization offer any LGBTQ specific clinical services?

To receive credit in the HEI, a facility must:
Offer one or more of the following types of service:

  • HIV/STD/STI testing and counseling
  • Provision of PrEP and/or PEP for patients at risk for HIV
  • HIV care and services
  • LGBTQ-focused mental health services
  • LGBTQ-focused alcohol and substance use treatment
  • LGBTQ family building assisted reproductive treatment

By “LGBTQ-Focused,” we mean programs that are specifically directed to and tailored for the LGBTQ population—NOT just inclusion of LGBTQ people in existing programs.

Examples:

  • St. Barnabas Hospital - Bronx advertises PrEP services for their LGBTQ patients.
  • Aspire Fertility offers inclusive and comprehensive fertility services specifically for LGBTQ individuals and families.
  • OneWorld Communith Health Centers provides healthcare treatment designed to fit the health needs of their LGBTQ patients such as behavioral and sexual health services. 
  • CrecentCare has tailored many of their services towards the LGBTQ community.
Does your organization have an externally promoted LGBTQ-specific clinic?

Alex Gonzalez, MD, MPH, medical director of Fenway Health explains that “Health care environments that are not affirmative or inclusive leads to bad experiences for patients, which in turn leads patients to withhold important information about themselves in future visits or, even worse, stop accessing health care altogether.” Creating an intentional space for LGBTQ healthcare offers a safer environment for the community to engage with medical facilities and providers. 

To receive credit, a facility must:

Have an externally promoted clinic focused on providing comprehensive and inclusive health services explicitly for the LGBTQ community. 

Examples:

  • Cleveland Clinic’s Center for LGBT Care offers a wide array of services ranging from behavioral health to transition-specific services.
  • Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia demonstrates how they provide affirming LGBTQ care through their Pride Program 
  • The Pride Health Center at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan focuses on serving the health needs of the LGBTQ community with respect and dignity.
  • The Vanderbilt University Medical Center Program for LGBTQ Health works to address LGBTQ health disparities by improving the health of their LGBTQ patients and through education and research.
Does your organization have an externally promoted LGBTQ-focused office, point-person, patient advocate or ombudsman?

To receive credit, a facility must:
Have an externally-facing and publically promoted LGBTQ specific office, point-person, patient advocate or ombudsman. Simply having a patient advocate that has been trained in LGBTQ issues or having a diversity council that includes LGBTQ issues does not count.

Examples:

  • Mount Sinai Beth Israel has an office of LGBT Health Services. Visit their website to learn more about the services they offer LGBTQ patients.
  • Rush Medicine has two licensed clinical social workers available to help LGBTQ patients, visitors, employees and students navigate resources within Rush and the broader community which are promoted on this webpage about their commitment to LGBTQ healthcare.
  • VA Palo Alto Healthcare System has a special LGBT program for staff, veterans and allies.
  • All of the Veterans Health Administration facilities have identified LGBT Veteran Care Coordinators that are typically promoted on facility webpage about LGBT care such as this one from the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital.

Communications

Does your organization provide educational LGBTQ-related health information and/or links to LGBTQ health education OR provide resources from outside organizations on the facility’s website?

To receive credit, a facility must:

Have a specific landing page focused on LGBTQ health issues OR provide resources from external organizations on your facility’s website..

Examples:

  • VA Palo Alto Health Care System has a webpage welcoming LGBT veterans, providing veteran specific LGBTQ information, resources for staff, and a section on their HEI Leader status.
  • Jackson Health System has an LGBT page that affirms their commitment to the LGBTQ community, highlights specific services, and offers various resources.
  • The LGBT Health Program at Penn Medicine has an extensive website with a variety of information about the LGBTQ specific work they do, as well as resources available to patients.

Below are examples of free materials available to download that you can distribute at your organization:

Does your organization publish any health education brochures or other print material(s) about specific health topics and how they impact LGBTQ people (not an LGBTQ services brochure for marketing purposes)?

To receive credit, a facility must:
Have materials that are specifically developed by the healthcare facility (or system) to reach out to LGBTQ patients about health topics relevant to the LGBTQ population. General promotional materials do not count (you can receive credit for these types of materials under marketing in Criteria 4).

Examples:

  • City of Hope National Medical Center’s Diversity Resource group created materials to inform the LGBTQ community about cancer prevention tips.
  • Chase Brexton Health Care has a brochure outlining the transgender-specific health services available at their clinics.
  • The Family Tree Clinic has a flyer designed to reach out specifically to transgender patients, reminding everyone who has a cervix to get a Pap test. The flyer not only serves as an educational tool, but also explicitly welcomes transgender patients.
  • Cincinnati Children’s brochure detailing LGBTQ resources for both patients and providers includes a list of LGBTQ inclusive questions providers can ask their patients.