Trainings Held for Hospital Personnel to Improve Access to Medical Care for LGBT Patients, Special Focus on Transgender Individuals
BOSTON—As a part of her efforts to improve access and quality of health care for Massachusetts residents, Attorney General Maura Healey’s Office has partnered with the National LGBT Health Education Center at the Fenway Institute and the Massachusetts Hospital Association to train hospital personnel on improving access to medical care for LGBT patients across the state, with a special focus on transgender patients.
More than 100 hospital staff and health care providers attended the first training last week. A similar training will be held in Northampton in July.
“LGBT patients, particularly those who are transgender, face unique challenges when accessing health care,” said AG Healey. “These training sessions will help equip hospital staff and providers with best practices for treating LGBT patients from the moment they enter the door. Our goal is equal access for all patients regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity wherever they seek care. We thank the Fenway Institute for all of its work and the Massachusetts Hospital Association for its generous support of this initiative.”
“Too often, providers lack the knowledge and training needed to give LGBT patients the sensitive and comprehensive care they deserve,” said Harvey Makadon, M.D., Director of The National LGBT Health Education Center at The Fenway Institute and keynote speaker at the training. “Last week’s meeting will fill some of the gaps of this knowledge deficit that will help them provide culturally competent care for their LGBTQ patients.”
“MHA and its member hospitals have been strong and steadfast supporters of LGBT rights, and MHA was one of the initial supporters of the transgender rights bill now working its way through the state legislature,” said Lynn Nicholas, President & CEO of the Massachusetts Hospital Association. “These trainings will help ensure all patients feel comfortable and supported seeking healthcare in Massachusetts.”
The trainings provide information about the unique challenges and barriers faced by LGBT patients in accessing health care. Research by the Fenway Institute, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, found that 20 percent of transgender patients delayed or deferred needed medical care out of fear of how they would be treated. Twenty-nine percent reported having to teach their health care provider about transgender health issues.
The goal of the trainings is to ensure that hospital staff and other health care providers have the knowledge necessary to develop internal intake and admission procedures, data collection policies and clinical care principles that support culturally competent care. Additionally, all attendees receive training materials to be used for staff-specific trainings at their institutions.
In addition to these efforts, AG Healey’s Office will also provide guidance on civil rights and health care related issues at the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) and Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Youth (BAGLY) Youth and Family Summit on July 9, which is expected to include more than 100 young people and parents.
The AG’s Office will also hold community action hours and an information session on Tuesday, July 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Fenway Health. Staff from the AG’s Office will discuss the services provided by the office, transgender rights and health-related work, and self-advocacy tips.
The AG’s Office previously held community action hours at the AIDS Action Committee in October 2015 and gave a presentation on civil rights and health care issues at First Event, a multi-day transgender conference, in January.
Last June, AG Healey adopted a policy to protect transgender and gender non-conforming individuals working for or interacting with the Office.
AG Healey has worked closely with advocates to garner support for a bill that would protect transgender people from discrimination in public places. In October, AG Healey testified in support of the legislation and submitted a letter advocating for its passage. That bill has now passed in both the House and Senate.
In March, the AG’s Office launched the #EveryoneWelcome social media campaign, featuring short video messages from celebrity allies of the transgender community and families from across Massachusetts. The office hosted a roundtable discussion with transgender youth and their families. In addition, a total of 70 businesses joined the AG’s Office in a letter urging the Legislature to take a favorable vote on legislation.
[From a News Release]