I spoke this fall at the GLMA (Gay/Lesbian Medical Association) annual meeting which in 2008 was held in Seattle. when I spoke at the Gala dinner to the physicians and hospital administators I received a horrified look that this sort of discrimination would exist in the health care setting.
Following my speech, I see that the AMA has taken on this issue for 2009 and cite Lisa and our family’s experience (and lawsuit) for the change. Again another step forward.
1) Leading hospital accrediting organization to explore LGBT concerns
The Joint Commission has appointed Joel Ginsberg, executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), to serve on a new expert advisory panel on developing hospital standards for culturally competent patient-centered care. Formerly known as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States.
“This is another victory in our fight to ensure equality in health care for LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] people,” said Ginsberg in a GLMA news release. “We’ve seen a lot of progress in recent years,” he said, referring to his organization’s work with the AMA, Aetna and others, and added, “The Joint Commission has tremendous influence. Its decision to address the unique needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients has the potential to affect millions of people.”
The new panel will make recommendations regarding many facets of hospital operations, including leadership, quality improvement and data use, work force, provision of care, patient needs, patient-provider communication and community engagement. GLMA is also working to improve hospital treatment of LGBT patients and employees through the Healthcare Equality Index, a national survey conducted in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
“A key issue is ending discriminatory hospital visitation policies, to prevent future cases like that of Janice Langbehn,” Ginsberg said. In 2007 Janice Langbehn of Olympia, Wash., was barred from visiting her partner of 18 years who had been admitted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami after being told that “she was in an anti-gay city and state,” a GLMA news release reports.
The AMA-GLBT Advisory Committee commends Ginsberg on this appointment.