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Call for Health Maintenance Organiztions (HMOs) / Preferred Provider Organizations(PPOs) to Provide LGBT-Sensitive Referrals

08/26/1998 -- Introduced by: Bob Cabaj, MD, Chairman, GLMA Public Policy Committee

Board Approved: August 26, 1998

WHEREAS, the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association works to maximize the quality of health and health services for lesbian, gay and transgendered (LGBT) people by educating health care professionals about LGBT health care needs and helping to develop equitable health care policy; and

WHEREAS, the American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs report "Health Care Needs of Gay Men and Lesbians in the U.S." in the May 1, 1996 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) states, "The physician?s failure to recognize homosexuality or the patient?s reluctance to report his or her sexual orientation and behavior can lead to failure to screen, diagnose, or treat important medical problems;" and

WHEREAS, according to TS Stein?s "Overview of New Developments in Understanding Homosexuality," in Review of Psychiatry, "Some psychiatrists may continue to regard homosexuality as a disorder and some mental health practitioners may present homosexuality as abnormal and dysfunctional," despite the American Psychiatric Association?s 1978 removal of homosexuality from categories of medical disorders and its 1986 deletion of egodystonic homosexuality as a diagnosis; and

WHEREAS, the JAMA report also found that physicians often express discomfort with gay men and lesbians, and 88% of respondents in GLMA?s 1994 report, "Anti-Gay Discrimination in Medicine: Results in the National Survey of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Physicians," had heard colleagues make disparaging remarks about LGBT patients; and

WHEREAS, many LGBT patients are reluctant to see health care professionals because of potential unfavorable reactions, including hostility, denial of care, or substandard care; and

WHEREAS, according to the 1996 JAMA report, "The AMA believes that the physician?s nonjudgmental recognition of sexual orientation and behavior enhances his or her ability to render optimal patient care in health as well as in illness;" therefore, be it

RESOLVED: that the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association strongly urges HMOs, PPOs and other managed care organizations to identify and provide referrals to LGBT- sensitive providers with competence in LGBT health so that optimal patient care can be rendered to LGBT people.

Background and citations: GLMA currently provides a widely utilized referral program for LGBT patients looking for LGBT- sensitive providers from within its membership. The increasing utilization of this service confirms the need for LGBT- sensitive physician referrals. Citations: Council on Scientific Affairs, American Medical Association , " Health Care Needs of Gay Men and Lesbians in the United States, JAMA, May 1, 1996, Vol. 275, No. 17. Stein, TS, " Overview of New Developments in Understanding Homosexuality." In: Oldham JM, Riba MB, Tasman A, eds. Review of Psychiatry . Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press: 1993 129-40. Stevens, P.E., Tatum, N.O. White J.C., "Optimal care for lesbian patients. "Patient Care, March 15, 1996. pp121-140. Hester, S. Rankow, L. Perkins. A. Zurn, A, Lesbians ? A Special Population for Service. Informational Handout. GLMA "Anti-gay discrimination in Medicine Results of a National Survey of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Physicians, "1994. O?Hanlan, K. "Lesbian Health and Homophobia Perspectives for the Treating Obstet/gynecologist. In Current Problems in Obstetrics/Gynecology and Fertility." Vol xv111 Number 4 July/August 1997 p97 to 133.


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ID Number: 111-98-111

This resolution was researched, discussed and approved by the full GLMA Board

Status: Active


 

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