LGBT Healthcare Bill of Rights Launched

Author: www.lgbtcenters.org
Published: Friday 19th December 2014
Summary: The bill, in both long form and wallet sized versions, outlines protections and rights LGBT people have in healthcare.


LGBT HealthLink, Missouri's PROMO, and lawyer Corey Prachniak, today released the first ever LGBT Healthcare Bill of Rights (HBOR).

The bill, in both long form and wallet sized versions, outlines the protections and rights LGBT people have in healthcare today. Prachniak, Chair of LGBT HealthLink's Steering Committee, explained the significance of HBOR: "We have more healthcare protections now than ever before, but what's holding us back is we don't always know about them. We hope this tool will change that reality."

When PROMO started to contact local hospitals as part of a LGBT health policy project, they learned firsthand how large the gap between protections and knowledge was.

According to PROMO's Andrew Shaughnessy, "The Joint Commission now prohibits hospitals from discriminating against LGBT people, but when we contacted hospitals almost no one knew this was the case. We're happy to report that many of our hospitals have now adopted nondiscrimination policies, but this just emphasized how important it is for LGBT people to be educated about our rights."

HBORThe release was timed to coincide with the beginning of open enrollment in insurance exchanges. "Too many of us don't realize these insurance exchanges can't discriminate against us for being LGBT," Prachniak pointed out. "This is the type of information we need to be shouting from the mountaintops."

Over fifty national and regional organizations have signed on as partners for the HBOR.

"LGBT community centers, equality organizations and national LGBT leaders have all signed on; it just shows how important health equality is to all of us," added Prachniak.

LGBT HealthLink's Dr. Scout expressed hope that the new Healthcare Bill of Rights will have a long-term effect. "We know LGBT people suffer from stigma related health issues like smoking or mental health problems. We know we see doctors less, which means we also don't get well-person care like cancer screenings. The first step in breaking this chain is getting LGBT people in regular healthcare; we hope this tool will help many of us take that step."

Current Partners (list in formation)

LGBT HealthLink, a program of CenterLink, links people in order to spread LGBT wellness best practices across state and federal health departments and community organizations. We are one of eight CDC-funded tobacco and cancer disparity networks. www.lgbthealthlink.org

PROMO is Missouri's statewide organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality through legislative action, electoral politics, grassroots organizing, and community education. www.promoonline.org

CenterLink – was founded in 1994 as a member-based coalition to support the development of strong, sustainable LGBT community centers. A fundamental goal of CenterLink's work is to help build the capacity of these centers to address the social, cultural, health and political advocacy needs of LGBT community members across the country. Now in its 20th year, CenterLink continues to play an important role in addressing the challenges centers face by helping them to improve their organizational and service delivery capacity, access public resources and engage their regional communities in the grassroots social justice movement.

To learn more and to download the bill, visit HealthcareBillOfRights.org

Organizations interested in becoming partners and receiving a copy of the bill with their own branding should visit the Our Partners page or contact HealthLink@lgbtcenters.org


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