LGBT Healthcare Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights

At the 2011 National Coalition for LGBT Health Meeting, LGBT HealthLink’s Director, Dr. Scout, concluded a presentation by suggesting our communities really needed to create a healthcare bill of rights. The response from the experts in attendance was overwhelming; dozens of experts chimed in to concur. In the years since, our healthcare rights have only expanded yet public understanding about those rights – which is critical to their effectiveness – has not kept pace. For example, very few people know that any hospital accredited by the Joint Commission must now have an LGBT nondiscrimination policy. Or that health insurers in the new marketplaces cannot discriminate either. Making this problem worse, even healthcare institutions are not fully educated about these changes. Most hospitals that were approached by PROMO, the LGBT equality organization for Missouri, could show no evidence of having an LGBT nondiscrimination policy in place. We have many new rights, and now more than ever we need to understand what they are to get the healthcare we deserve.

In 2014, LGBT HealthLink partnered with PROMO Missouri and lawyer Corey Prachniak from Washington DC to create a short document summarizing our rights in the healthcare world now. A few of these rights are aspirational, they have protections in most cases but not a blanket ruling protecting all cases. We have included them because we feel we need to outline the moral rights as well as those which already enjoy full legal protection. After working closely with healthcare policymakers for years, we know the intent is to treat us with full equality and fairness. Outright hostility or chilly climates around LGBT people no longer have a place in health care. We know discrimination is a major reason LGBT people experience profound health disparities now; it needs to be part of our past.

The first step is to be educated about our rights and stand up when they are not met.

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