Report: CMS, DMS and One Colorado address LGBT health
The Colorado Medical Society, Denver Medical Society and One Colorado Education Fund have partnered over the past year to address the objective of eliminating health disparities in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations. Earlier this year, CMS and DMS were awarded One Colorado’s Ally Award for our work.
Our latest collaboration resulted in a new report through which we sought better understanding in how physicians see, include and treat LGBT patients. The report is titled “Becoming Visible: Working with Colorado Physicians to Improve LGBT Health” in recognition that LGBT Coloradans often feel invisible in the health care system.
The report is specific to the LGBT patient population in Colorado and the views of Colorado physicians. It includes data analysis by health policy researchers who worked with a physician advisory committee. Here are the major findings:
- Physicians and their staff overwhelmingly report high levels of comfort in serving lesbian, gay and bisexual patients. These groups reported slightly lower comfort with serving transgender patients but a super-majority reported they are comfortable.
- Colorado physicians are more comfortable with patients self-disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity than they are asking their patients directly.
- A minority of physicians is taking steps to create LGBT-friendly practices, for example, developing policies against discrimination and using LGBT-friendly forms. Other physicians have expressed interest in these steps.
- Colorado physicians believe they already treat their LGBT patients equally to other patients. However, equal treatment doesn’t mean LGBT Coloradans are getting the care they need.
- Primary care physicians were more likely than specialty care physicians to acknowledge the role sexual orientation and gender identity play in patient health and are more likely to be taking steps to be more LGBT-friendly.
- There is a great interest in becoming more LGBT-friendly among physicians in the Denver metro area, younger physicians in the state and male physicians.
In addition to the report, this partnership has produced an accredited online Continuing Medical Education program specific to improving the care experience of the LGBT patient population and resources for physician offices: “Health and Health Care for the LGBT Community: Identifying and Minimizing Disparities.” To access the program, go to www.cms.org/resources/health-and-health-care-for-the-lgbt-community.
Posted in: ASAP | Initiatives | Patient Safety and Professional Accountability