June 7th, 2010
05:15 PM ET

Report: Hospitals lacking protection for gays and lesbians

By John Bonifield
CNN Medical Producer

A review of 200 of the nation's largest hospitals finds 42 percent do not have policies in place to protect gay and lesbian patients from discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to a new report by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

The gay and lesbian civil rights organization also says 93 percent of hospitals in its review fail to protect transgender patients from discrimination based on gender identity.

"The results clearly reflect that we have a long way to go," said Tom Sullivan, co-author of the HRC's report, "Affirming and protective policies must be in place."

In April, President Obama ordered hospitals that receive money from the government's Medicare and Medicaid programs to eliminate restrictive hospital visitation rights for gays and lesbians. A draft regulation of the rule is expected in the coming months.

"While the good news is the health care landscape is about to change dramatically...the sad reality it the status quo is very poor," said Joe Solmonese, HRC's president, in a teleconference with reporters today.

Solmonese is encouraging hospitals to act ahead of the new legislation to draft more inclusive policies on their own.

"There is no reason to wait," he said. "Go ahead of the curve now."

The American Hospital Association says it looks forward to learning details of the new regulations.

“We recognize how important family support is to a patient's well-being and we work hard to involve patients and their loved ones in their care,” the association says in a statement to CNN. “The executive order states that changes will take place through the federal rule-making process, including guidance on how hospitals can best comply with new regulations.”

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has advice about hospital visitation and decision-making for gays and lesbians.

soundoff (One Response)
  1. Cait

    The vagueness of this article is confusing me. What protection are hospitals not providing? If they are giving LGBT people the same treatments, getting them well, and allowing their partners to see them while recieving treatment...aren't they providing the same care as they would to straight people?

    June 30, 2010 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply

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