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.