Avoid turning off LGBTQ patients, prevent lawsuits with ‘cultural competency’

by Roy Edroso

A pending law in the District of Columbia underlines your obligation to proactively guard against discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) patients — or risk alienating patients or even legal trouble.

On Feb. 2, the D.C. Council passed the LGBTQ Cultural Competency Continuing Education Amendment Act of 2015, requiring health care professionals licensed in the district to acquire two continuing education credits “on cultural competency or specialized clinical training focusing on patients who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender nonconforming, queer or questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression (‘LGBTQ’).”

The Act, which at press time awaits Congressional approval, includes a waiver for providers with only limited patient engagement and authorization for the District to arrange funding for cultural competency training vendors.

The legislation is a sign that competency in the special needs of LGBTQ patients is increasingly expected of providers. While “there is not a [federal] legislative mandate that addresses this specifically, many providers are being sued because of a lack of cultural competence and appropriateness,” says Venessa Marie Perry, president/CEO of Health Resource Solutions LLC in Washington, D.C. Some cases, such as Taylor v. Lystila involving a transgender patient whose provider refused to give her hormone replacement therapy, have explicitly referenced the Affordable Care Act (ACA)....continue reading on Part B News

What in the World Is LGBT Cultural Competence, Anyway?

I applaud the recent news out of D.C.; their City Council unanimously approved a bill requiring that all continuing education programs for licensed health care professionals include LGBT-related “cultural competency” training.

Before we rush to train health care providers, I recommend we slow down and ask the big questions. What do we mean by LGBT cultural competence? (We are not all employing a clear or identical definition.) What are our training goals and how can we know if we achieved them? (A huge roar of applause is not an evaluation method.) What, (if anything) is it reasonable to expect to achieve in a two-hour training? Is “learning about LGBT people” going to make any difference in the multiple health disparities in our community?...continue reading on Huffington Post

Support Groups for Survivors: Commemorating National Minority Cancer Awareness Week

In 2013, the National LGBT Cancer Network and LGBT HealthLink surveyed over 300 LGBTQ-identified cancer survivors and found that, overwhelmingly, our communities needed LGBTQ-targeted support. Mainstream, “straight-identified” cancer support groups too often left our people’s cancer experiences shut out of the dialogue. LGBTQ survivors also told us that doctors were not open enough to our needs and sometimes were overtly hostile. Cancer support groups by and for LGBTQ members were the number one request made by survivors who participated in our survey...continue reading on Diverse Elders Coalition