10 things LGBTQ patients look for in doctors and providers

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Things to look for before choosing a medical, dental or healthcare provider, from top down, waiting room to exam room, staff policies to community engagement.

Our list below is by no means a comprehensive list, but it’s a great start.

Board, Management & Senior Staff Engaged

Proactive efforts to build an LGBTQ-inclusive environment in provider offices start at the top. Regularly engage and survey, casually and formally, queer staff and clients.

Practices & Policies Reflect LGBTQ Needs

Families are inclusively defined in official language. Non-discrimination policies spell out support and consequences for infractions. Support services and visitation should be inclusive of LGBTQ family members.

Outreach & Engagement

This can include co- sponsoring or hosting community events, recognizing LGBTQ awareness “holidays” such as LGBT Health Week, National Coming Out Day or Transgender Day of Remembrance, organizing a Pride parade contingency, soliciting LGBTQ board members and advisors, and advocating when appropriate on local issues of importance to LGBTQ patience.

Cultural-Affirming Training

For all staff and clinicians, whether or not their official capacity is to interact with clients and patients.

Processes & Forms

Registration forms ask patients about sexual orientation and gender identity to ensure closeted patients feel recognized and affirmed. Asks preferred as well as “official” names and identifications. Asks gender neutral relationship questions, and identity-inclusive family planning and gynecology questions.

Opt-in Data Collection

A collection of sexual orientation and gender identity information can help provide screening and preventive care that can address LGBTQ healthcare disparities. Anonymous reporting to national commissions can help nationally if patient consents.

Routine Sexual Histories

Collects updates for all adult and adolescent patients, and solicits discussions broader than just behavior and associated risks for HIV and STDs. Should include sexual function, satisfaction, desires, trauma or abuse, and LGBTQ family planning.

LGBTQ-specific Clinical Services

This includes hormone therapy for transgender patients, family planning for same-sex couples, PrEP availability for gay and bisexual men, cervical and breast cancer screenings for lesbians, trans men and bisexual women. Can also include things like smoking cessation assistance for all of the above due to probability statistics.

Welcoming Environment

Do depictions include LGBTQ people and families? Are there non-traditional representations of gender? Waiting area reading materials queer inclusive? Restrooms all-gender or single-user?

LGBTQ Staffing

Ask if they recruit and retain queer members on staff. See if they offer employee benefits packages inclusive of same-sex partners and transition-related expenses.

Source: lgbthealtheducation.org

This feature also appeared in Q ATLus Magazine. Read the issue here:

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