Central Health Equity Policy Council to hone in on improving health care experience for local LGBTQ patients and staff

Central Health Equity Policy Council announced it will work to improve health care experiences for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer adults. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Central Health Equity Policy Council announced it will work to improve health care experiences for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer adults. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)

Central Health Equity Policy Council announced it will work to improve health care experiences for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer adults. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)

After the Central Health board of managers last week gave it the green light to pursue one of several policy options, the Central Health Equity Policy Council on Feb. 7 announced it will work to improve health care experiences for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer adults.

Megan Cermak, the manager of community and population health strategy for the Equity Policy Council, last week told Community Impact Newspaper that several of the council’s stakeholders—which include local health care systems and governmental agencies—expressed common interest to “reduce stigma” for LGBTQ patients.

According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 33% of transgender respondents who had seen a health care provider in the prior year reported having at least one negative experience with a doctor or other health care provider related to being transgender.

A 2017 study by Harvard University found 1 in 6 LGBTQ adults reports having experienced discrimination in a health care setting, according to Central Health.

“Our members felt strongly we need to make sure this isn’t the experience of LGBTQ residents here in Travis County,” Cermak said in Central Health’s Feb. 7 news release.


With the new policy in place, the Central Health Equity Policy Council will now work with local health care facilities to acquire Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index Accreditation.

The Human Rights Campaign introduced the Healthcare Equality Index in 2007, according to Central Health. The accreditation “evaluates healthcare facilities' policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of their LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees," according to the Human Rights Campaign website.

“It’s very comprehensive, but there is some very good work that could come out of that,” Cermak told the Central Health board of managers Jan. 29.

Two local health care organizations—Austin Public Health and People's Community Clinic—already have the certification, according to the Central Health news release.

Central Health in its news release stated the Central Health Equity Policy Council will include training on better care for intersex patients in the implementation of this new policy.
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By Iain Oldman

Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the reporter for Northwest Austin.


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