Know Your Healthcare Rights!

LGBT Healthcare bill of rights released.


Visiting the doctor or hospital has a different meaning for the LGBT community than it does for others. Not only are we afraid that we will not be given the same care and respect as the heterosexual  patients, but we are overcome with fear that one day we will be gravely sick or injured, and our significant others will be shunned from visiting us, or making health decisions on our behalf simply because we are gay. What many of us don’t know is the security of our rights and what they really are. On November 18th, LGBT HealthLink, Missouri’s PROMO and lawyer Corey Prachniak set out to spread the word about the health care rights for the LGBT community once and for all. The LGBT Healthcare Bill of Rights was released to outline the protections and rights LGBT has in healthcare today.  Prachniak, Chair of LGBT HealthLink’s Steering Committee, explained the significance of HBOR:  “We have more healthcare protections now than ever before, but what’s holding us back is we don’t always know about them. We hope this tool will change that reality.”


The bill, which was released in both long form and wallet sized versions, provides the synopsis of rights within the healthcare system that give the tools and resources the LGBT community needs in order to assure they are given equal healthcare rights under the law. When PROMO began to contact local hospitals as part of the initial research, they learned firsthand how little knowledge these facilities had regarding healthcare rights for the LGBT community. According to PROMO’s Andrew Shaughnessy, “The Joint Commission now prohibits hospitals from discriminating against LGBT people, but when we contacted hospitals almost no one knew this was the case. We’re happy to report that many of our hospitals have now adopted nondiscrimination policies, but this just emphasized how important it is for LGBT people to be educated about our rights.” The release of this bill coincides with the beginning of open enrollment for insurance companies. “Too many of us don’t realize these insurance exchanges can’t discriminate against us for being LGBT,” Prachniak pointed out. “This is the type of information we need to be shouting from the mountaintops.”


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