AHA SmartMarket and the Institute Interview June Diversity Dialogue Speakers

June 18, 2015

June marks LGBT Pride Month - a celebration of the history and contributions made by lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual (LGBT) individuals in the United States.  As the visibility and recognition of the LGBT community continues to increase, how are the nation’s hospitals responding to intensifying calls to provide LGBT patient-centered care? Are they embracing new legal, regulatory and accreditation requirements to provide equitable, knowledgeable, sensitive and welcoming care? 

These questions and much more will be answered in the Institute's upcoming Diversity Dialogue, "Best Practices in LGBT-Patient Centered Care for Hospitals," which will take place Tuesday, June 23 at 12:00 p.m.  In a recent collaborative interview with AHA SmartMarket and the Institute, presenters Tari Hanneman, health and aging associate director of the Human Rights Campaign and Marci Hoze, patient care services director at UC Davis Medical Center, discussed preliminary questions regarding best practices currently recommended to hospitals in the LGBT realm, as well as key factors that lead hospitals to improve their policies and practices regarding LGBT patients and employees.  To discuss this interview and topic with 45,000+ health care professionals, click here.


AHA SmartMarket/IFD: In your experience, what is one common challenge hospitals face when addressing the needs of LGBT patients? Employees?

Tari Hanneman and Marci Hoze: Hospitals: Senior leadership and staff’s unconscious bias. Historical legal and religious beliefs created an environment that made that bias “normal.” There is often a lack of understanding and training to help staff create a welcoming and trusted environment.

Employees: Discrimination that works against employees obtaining basic benefits and recognition.

AHA SmartMarket/IFD: What distinguishes LGBT-centered patient care from care given to other minority groups?

Tari Hanneman and Marci Hoze: One of the key issues involves people in long standing relationships that have not been formally acknowledged leading to decreased support systems for the patient and a history of discrimination that has led to a decreased trust in the system to provide appropriate care.

AHA SmartMarket/IFD:  What are some ways clinicians can better support and care for patients who identify as LGBT?

Tari Hanneman and Marci Hoze: Recognize unconscious bias, identify the important people in a patient’s life, listen, don’t make assumptions about behavior based on identity, use inclusive and welcoming language, and recognize that treating everyone the same does not lead to the provision of high quality, individualized care.

AHA SmartMarket/IFD: In 2013, UC Davis Health System became the first academic health system in the U.S. to capture sexual orientation and gender identity information within electronic health records. What led to this change? What is the impact on care?

Tari Hanneman and Marci Hoze: We recognized that to improve care for patients of different cultural groups we must understand how that culture effects health and health care decision making. Our Dean recognized we need to identify LGBTI members of our health care community in order to provide appropriate high quality care. We have seen gradual improvements in care, staff are more comfortable – many where rainbows on their name badges creating virtual walking safe zones for patients, we are attracting a more diverse staff and faculty.

AHA SmartMarket/IFD:What effort did it take to include a new health record information category for LGBT patients?

Tari Hanneman and Marci Hoze: We started with learning to talk about SO/GI out loud, brought together a multidisciplinary group, created the EHR infrastructure, created and actioned a deployment plans –mychart, clinic, inpatient, created provider education, internal marketing, provider education, provider education, etc.

AHA SmartMarket/IFD:What would you like participants to take away from this upcoming webinar?

Tari Hanneman and Marci Hoze:  Everyone is responsible for discovering their own unconscious bias that may lead to providing lower quality care to certain individuals. All patients should receive the level of care you would want for your family.

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