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Action Alert: Joint Commission needs stories of bad LGBTQ healthcare!

By Scout
Reporting from 2010 National Coalition for LGBT Health Meeting

Anyone know The Joint Commission? Well, other than being in an acronym twelve-step program (their last name was JCAHO), they are the folk who accredit 95% of all hospital beds in the country. Accredit as in… if the hospital doesn’t pass their tests, I’m pretty sure it’s turned into a walmart. They also accredit community health centers too. All I know is if you work in a hospital or health center and The Joint Commission review is up, you iron your underwear.

Brette Tschurtz from The Joint Commission & Hector Vargas from GLMA

So, did you know The Joint Commission has a big project to improve care for LGBTQ people? Today at the National Coalition for LGBT Health meeting Brette Tschurtz from The Joint Commission came to tell us all about it. They started the project by adding some LGBT leaders to an advisory group, then they followed it up with a recent LGBTQ advisory meeting where they heard earfuls about how care can get better for all of us.

But now they’re going further, developing a toolkit for hospitals and health centers to serve us all better. And in order to know what exactly needs fixing, they need stories of what’s going wrong! Now if you remember that national transgender needs assessment that was just released, 1 in 5 trans people in this country has been denied health care. (Remember Southern Comfort? That trans guy was turned down from care by 19 docs before he died out of treatment.) If you’re that 1 in 5, tell them about it. Or what about everyone, every lesbian who’s been subjected to an endless grilling on birth control, every gay man who had to deal with some suddenly frosty doctor? Or what about the youth, I don’t know about you, but as an openly gay youth in the mental health care system… well let’s just say, it wasn’t pretty at all. (but yes, yes, it got better) (much better actually). So, whatever your flavor — speak up and speak out! The group that can spank your hospital wants to know if those hospitals treat us like second class citizens. Share the news, share the stories and let’s tell them every time the health care system let’s us down!

Email stories to! (No, no hyperlink, apparently that’s just like candy for spammers, so please use the old scissors and white glue to cut and paste in yr email program.)

October 25, 2010 Posted by | Action Alerts | 1 Comment

Data Collection & More Data Collection

On left, Amy Shipley, Legislative Aide for LGBT Issues and Health from the Office of Hon. Baldwin.

By Juan Carlos Vega, Guest Blogger

Reporting from 2010 National Coalition for LGBT Health Meeting

On September 15, 2010, the H.R. 6109-Health Data Collection Improvement Act was introduced to mandate gender identity and sexual orientation data collection.  Champed by U.S. House of Representative, Honorable Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin, the legislation passed the subcommittee, but its chances on the legislative floor may not be as successful.  How does this reflect on Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory that does not have voting representation in the U.S. Congress?  Federal law mandates over local Puerto Rican law but there is a deep gap when it comes to implementation.  This is now the case of the recently passed legislation (Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act) that mandates the investigation of hate crimes.  The reality in Puerto Rico is that neither the Puerto Rico Police Department nor the Department of Justice is enforcing the hate crime law locally.  Only a few local advocates and lawyers are pushing for investigation on over twelve murders and acts of violence against LGBT individuals in Puerto Rico in the last year.  Will the Puerto Rican Department of Health follow the same lines of other government agencies?

Mr. David Hansell, Acting Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children & Families, USHHS and most importantly, CHAMPION for LGBT rights at the federal level!!!

October 25, 2010 Posted by | National Coalition for LGBT Health, Puerto Rico | Leave a comment

A Librarian learning about base and coalition building to advance LGBT health in Puerto Rico

Mr. Baker on the left and a happy Librarian 🙂

By Juan Carlos Vega, Guest Blogger

Reporting from 2010 National Coalition for LGBT Health Meeting

From the beginning of the keynote address by Mr. Cornelius Baker of the National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition, I realized that the Annual Meeting & 10th Anniversary Celebration of the National Coalition for LGBT Health is providing me with valuable knowledge that will benefit the advancement of LGBT health work in Puerto Rico.   Learning the history of the National Coalition for LGBT Health helped me to envision meetings with the Secretary of Health in Puerto Rico to discuss LGBT health and inclusion, just like the Coalition did with the U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary in the earlier years of the group. Later, during the Panel Discussion: Working on Coalitions as Part of the LGBT Health Movement, it was expressed that the creation of a coalition is always a work in progress. It can start with a simple conference call to exchange ideas among those interested in LGBT health.  That particular session gave me basic ideas as I navigate the field to collectively gather LGBT and ally individuals in Puerto Rico to exchange ideas, realities and concerns to create one united voice on health issues for the LGBT community in the island.

The basic question for my current work is: why do we want to create an LGBT health work group in Puerto Rico?   Because a group of individuals will bring different voices, backgrounds, and perspectives giving strength to a movement.   Because it brings people from different sectors of society and surfaces commonalities at the table.   Because it can help connect other LGBT groups to bring health issues within their own mission, and for my own goal–to build local leadeship.

The Working on Coalitions Panel, which included our Gustavo Torrez (on right)

October 25, 2010 Posted by | National Coalition for LGBT Health, Puerto Rico | Leave a comment

ACTION ALERT: Federal cultural competency standards being enhanced: open comment period now!

**This will take only about 2-5 minutes of your time!**

The federal government has a set of guidelines for healthcare organizations called the CLAS standards (Cultural & Linguistically Appropriate Services). Some of them are required of all federal funds recipients, others are strongly suggested.

Luckily, right now they are taking feedback on how to make these standards better, both online and through a series of live meetings. Now, you may think your voice is small but I’m here to say, each public comment counts! And better yet, lots of public comments on a subject count quite a lot. So, please please, take a few minutes to look at the standards and chime in to say what you think could be better.

CLAS Standards

Page where you can submit feedback or sign up for a local meeting is here.

Possible ideas for enhancements you could put out there:

  • Make all standards mandatory for federally funded healthcare agencies, not just the ones related to language.
  • Standard 1add language in brackets Health care organizations should ensure that patients/consumers receive from all staff member’s effective, understandable, and respectful care that is provided in a manner compatible with their cultural health beliefs and practices, [preferred gender identity,] and preferred language.
  • Standard 10add language in brackets Health care organizations should ensure that data on the individual patient’s/consumer’s race, ethnicity, [sexual orientation, gender identity,] and spoken and written language are collected in health records, integrated into the organization’s management information systems, and periodically updated.

(Re-posted from website news article on October 5th.)

October 25, 2010 Posted by | Action Alerts | Leave a comment

Good Morning from National Coalition for LGBT Health Meeting

by Gustavo Torrez

Reporting from 2010 National Coalition for LGBT Health Meeting

Currently Scout and I are in Washington DC for The 2010 National Coalition for LGBT Health Annual Meeting. The Coalition’s annual meeting provides opportunity for participants to network with LGBT health advocates from across the country, attend workshops and trainings applicable to state and federal advocacy work, and learn about the Coalition’s policy initiatives. Here is a brief overview of the agenda for day 1, minus the actual breakouts for the day.
This morning Cornelius Baker, National Policy Advisor, National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition;
member, President’s Advisory Council on HIV & AIDS will be delivering the opening keynote address.
Leading into the afternoon, the Luncheon Plenary: LGBT Health on the Political Landscape speaker lineup looks amazing. We will hear from the following:
» Rebecca Fox, Consultant, Federal Agencies Project
» Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality
» Jeff Krehely, Director of LGBT Communications and Research, Center for American Progress
» Sharon Lettman, Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition
The closing plenary will be provided by David Hansell,
Acting Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services.

Stay tuned, for more detailed blog posts from throughout the day from myself and Juan Carlos Vega, the ActivistLibrarianPR from Puerto Rico…

October 25, 2010 Posted by | National Coalition for LGBT Health | Leave a comment


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