10/11/2011 – Washington, DC – Amid the signing of a number of pro-equality bills over the weekend, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill (SB747) that would have required a broad range of health professionals to complete continuing education in cultural competency for treating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals. GLMA has long advocated for LGBT cultural competency training for health professionals, and supported SB747, sponsored by Senator Christine Kehoe, as an important step to improve the health and well-being of LGBT patients.
"Although GLMA applauds the Governor’s commitment to LGBT equality, GLMA is also disappointed by Governor Brown’s veto of this very important health bill," said Hector Vargas, Executive Director of the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association. "Through GLMA’s work to address health disparities, we know that continuing education for health professionals in providing culturally competent care for LGBT patients improves the health and well-being of LGBT people."
In letters of support to the Governor and members of the California Assembly and Senate for SB747 ("LGBT Cultural Competence Training"), GLMA cited a recent GLMA-American Medical Association (AMA) collaborative survey finding that almost 40% of participating physicians reported they had no formal training – either in medical school, residency or from CME or post-graduate training – on LGBT health issues. Both the Institute of Medicine and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in separate communications, recently recognized a lack of training of health professionals as a significant barrier to LGBT people receiving quality healthcare.
Using similar reasoning for his veto of SB747, Governor Brown also vetoed a bill that would have added questions on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to the California Health Information Survey and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
"GLMA looks forward to working with our partners to have further discussions with the Governor on why it is important to have both legal and regulatory mandates for LGBT cultural competency training," stated Vargas. "GLMA believes both these bills will improve the health and well-being of California LGBT people."
GLMA would like to thank Equality California, the California LGBT Health and Human Services Network and other supportive organizations for their efforts to pass these bills.