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Recent years have brought about reliable data collection, research, and a greater understanding of the health care needs of the LGBT community and the challenges they face in accessing care. These challenges range from access to health care coverage and culturally competent care to state and federal policies that reinforce social stigma, marginalization, or discrimination.
The denial of such rights can have a negative impact on the physical and mental health of these persons and contribute to ongoing stigma and discrimination for LGBT persons and their families.6.The American College of Physicians recommends that public and private health benefit plans include comprehensive transgender health care services and provide all covered services to transgender persons as they would all other beneficiaries.4.The American College of Physicians encourages all hospitals and medical facilities to allow all patients to determine who may visit and who may act on their behalf during their stay, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status, and ensure visitation policies are consistent with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Conditions of Participation and The Joint Commission standards for Medicare-funded hospitals and critical-access hospitals.5. In this position paper, the American College of Physicians examines the health disparities experienced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and makes a series of recommendations to achieve equity for LGBT individuals in the health care system. Approved by the ACP Board of Regents on 27 April 2015.The American College of Physicians recommends that gender identity, independent and fundamentally different from sexual orientation, be included as part of nondiscrimination and antiharassment policies.
The College encourages medical schools, hospitals, physicians' offices, and other medical facilities to adopt gender identity as part of their nondiscrimination and antiharassment policies.2.
Policies that are discriminatory toward the LGBT community, or are no longer supported by empirical research, continue to reinforce the environmental and social factors that can affect the mental and physical well-being of LGBT persons.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) has a long-standing commitment to improving the health of all Americans and opposes any form of discrimination in the delivery of health care services.
Various state or federal laws may affect the quality of life of LGBT persons and can affect their physical and mental health.
Same-sex marriage bans may cause psychological distress (5), prohibitive hospital visitation policies may prevent a same-sex parent from seeing a minor while the child is ill or participating in medical decision making for the child, and exclusions on transgender health care in private and public health plans may cause a transgender patient to seek treatment options through illegal channels (6).
Draft recommendations were reviewed by the ACP Board of Regents, Board of Governors, Council of Early Career Physicians, Council of Resident/Fellow Members, Council of Student Members, and Council of Subspecialty Societies.