Henry Ford, non-profit partner to offer care to LGBT patients

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Henry Ford Health System

Henry Ford Health System has partnered with a local non-profit group to provide healthcare to the Detroit area’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Two doctors will join the Ruth Ellis Center twice a week, offering primary care services, HIV and STD testing, transition care for transgender patients and preventative care, according to a report from WXYZ News in Detroit. The health system already has a mobile clinic that provides these services, according to the article, but the pair of doctors working at Ruth Ellis will target that vulnerable population where they live.

“Let’s bring care to where young people already are, let’s provide services in a space where they already feel safe, let’s provide the services that are relevant to their needs,” Maureen Connolly, M.D., a pediatric physician who will lead the care at Ruth Ellis, told WXYZ.

Henry Ford has been recognized multiple times for its efforts in providing care to LGBT patients, according to an announcement from the system. In May, four of the system’s hospitals were recognized by the Human Rights campaign for policies like gender-neutral bathrooms, a focus on transgender medicine and its resource group for LGBT employees, called PRIDE.

The healthcare industry needs to better reach underserved populations like LGBT people, FierceHealthcare has previously reported. Jerrold Maki, vice president of special projects at Stanford Health Care, said that inclusivity initiatives had previously focused more on race and socioeconomic issues, but sexuality is coming more and more into play. LGBT people of color are particularly vulnerable, and programs funded by organizations like Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality target these patients.

Studies have shown that straight healthcare providers may be unknowingly biased against LGBT patients, though the impact of such thinking on patient care is not known. Hospitals are also lacking physicians who have familiarity and competency in treating LGBT patients, FierceHealthcare has previously reported.