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