April 1, 2011 - WASHINGTON - On the heels of a report issued yesterday by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) calling for more federal research and data collection on the health of LGBT people, today the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the results of an internal review of additional ways in which that department could address additional LGBT healthcare issues. President Obama directed Secretary Sebelius to provide these recommendations as part of his April 2010 memorandum regarding hospital visitation and medical decision-making. Among the recommendations announced today were: a commitment to collecting LGBT health data through federally-funded surveys, guidance to states regarding access to federal welfare programs for LGBT families, guidance to states regarding protection of a same-sex partner's assets when his or her partner uses Medicaid for long-term care, and expanded outreach regarding the range of HHS funding opportunities for organizations that serve the LGBT community.
"Once again, Secretary Sebelius has demonstrated a tremendous commitment to addressing the health needs of LGBT people, "said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Joe Solmonese. "The discrimination and inequality our community faces in healthcare is substantial, and there is so much more that must to be done, but today's recommendations - alongside the research roadmap provided in the IOM report - bring us closer to eliminating the barriers that harm the health and well-being of LGBT people and their families."
The Human Rights Campaign has been lobbying the Department to implement a number of policy changes related to LGBT health detailed in its Blueprint for Positive Change, including recognizing the LGBT community as a health disparity population and collecting health data on sexual orientation and gender identity.
HHS's additional recommendations regarding LGBT health are available at http://www.hhs.gov/secretary/about/lgbthealth.html.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.