For the fourth year in a row, NYU Langone Medical Center has been recognized as a leader in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) healthcare equality by the Human Rights Campaign (HCR) Foundation in its annual 2016 Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) Report. The HEI Report is a unique annual survey that encourages equal care for LGBT Americans by evaluating inclusive policies and practices related to LGBT patients, visitors, and employees.
“Our medical center has been leading the way in instituting inclusive and affirming policies for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning patients,” says Aron C. Janssen, MD, director of the Gender and Sexuality Service at NYU Langone’s Child Study Center, and co-chair of the medical center’s 90-member LGBTQ Advisory Council, which was created in 2012 to further NYU Langone’s commitment to delivering quality care to each patient and to reduce disparities that exist.
According to a recent National Transgender Discrimination Survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 24 percent of respondents in the study seeking health care were denied equal treatment in doctors' offices and hospitals; 19 percent report being refused medical care; and 50 percent report having to teach their medical providers about transgender care. Transgender people often delay seeking healthcare, due to a history of poor treatment overall, and as a result, many transgender patients have worse health outcomes.
NYU Langone’s LGBTQ Advisory Council is an interdisciplinary workgroup devoted to advancing institutional cultural competency for LGBTQ patients, families, and staff members. Members consist of both leaders and staff from a variety of departments, including hospital administration, information technology, communications, and NYU School of Medicine. With the help of the council, significant changes are being made. Of note, this past year the council has helped introduce several new initiatives, including:
- A new electronic training module, “Creating Patient-Centered Care Environments for LGBTQ Patients & Families,” provides an overview of LGBTQ, what it means, how to interact with an LGBTQ patient, questions to ask, what different terminology means. The training is required for all nursing personnel and is open to all staff members. Over 2,200 faculty and staff members have completed the training to date, with an average score of 93 percent.
- After a major change to NYU Langone’s health insurance policies, they now cover transgender faculty and staff for transition-related care, including psychotherapy, hormone replacement therapy, and gender reassignment surgery.
- Gender and sexuality are mandated as part of a patient’s health record in Epic, a best practice now required by the Joint Commission.
- For the past two years NYU Langone has helped highlight the importance of healthcare equality through its participation in the annual New York City Pride March, and will participate in the June 2016 event as well.
Looking forward, the council’s 2016 goals are to enable the electronic medical record to capture more information on the needs and experiences of transgender patients, tailor more specific educational interventions on LGBTQ health to students and staff, and create LGBTQ-inclusive policies for staff.
NYU Langone was one of 496 healthcare facilities nationwide to be named leaders in LGBTQ healthcare equality by the HCR Foundation, the educational arm of the country’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization. Facilities awarded this title meet key criteria, including patient and employee non-discrimination policies that specifically mention sexual orientation and gender identity, a guarantee of equal visitation for same-sex partners and parents, and LGBTQ health education for key staff members.
For more information about the Healthcare Equality Index 2016, or to download a free copy of the report, visit the Human Rights Campaign website.