ATL’s hospitals offer few written protections

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It’s disturbing to discover that the metro Atlanta hospitals you might expect to include sexual orientation and gender identity in their Patients’ Bill of Rights actually don’t.

That’s according to a survey by Southern Voice of Grady Health System, Northside Hospital, DeKalb Medical Center and Emory Healthcare.

Quick translation: Their written visitation policies don’t allow LGBT domestic partners the same access as spouses and next of kin, they don’t allow same-sex parents the same access as opposite-sex parents for visitation of their minor children and their staff doesn’t receive diversity training addressing gay issues. One — Northside Hospital — doesn’t even include domestic partner benefits to employees and joins DeKalb Medical Center in not including sexual orientation in its employment policies.

Think you live in a gay-friendly bubble in Atlanta? The SoVo story shows that’s not the case when it comes to local hospitals.

While Grady and the other hospitals say they treat all patients equally, no metro Atlanta hospitals polled specifically make provisions for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in their Patients’ Bill of Rights.

Despite the intentions of the Patients Bill of Rights to protect everyone, [Jeff] Graham of Georgia Equality said he hopes the hospital and healthcare industry begins to trend toward specifically including sexual orientation and gender identity protections.

“There is a growing base of research that really indicates LGBT people are concerned about adequate healthcare,” he said.

The article also includes some helpful advice from legal experts on what documents sames-sex partners need to protect their rights in case one is hospitalized. You’d do well to read up before

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