1 in 3 LGBTQ adults say they have been treated unfairly by a healthcare provider | Trending Viral hub

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer adults are twice as likely as their non-LGBTQ counterparts to report having negative healthcare experiences in the past three years, according to a new report.

One-third (33%) of LGBTQ adults say they were treated unfairly or disrespectfully or had at least one negative experience with a health care provider, compared to 15% of non-LGBTQ adults, according to a new report from KFFa nonprofit health care and survey organization, formerly known as the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Of LGBTQ adults who reported negative experiences, 61% said a provider assumed something about them without asking, suggested they were personally to blame for a health problem, ignored a direct request or question, or refused to prescribe needed pain medication, in compared to 31%. of non-LGBTQ adults who reported negative experiences.

Those negative encounters have an effect on the health of LGBTQ adults, the survey found. Of LGBTQ adults who reported having negative health care experiences in the past three years, nearly a quarter (24%) said those experiences made their health worse, compared to 9% of non-LGBTQ adults; 39% said those experiences made them less likely to seek medical care, compared to 15% of non-LGBTQ adults; and 36% said such negative experiences led them to change health care providers, compared to 16% of non-LGBTQ adults.

Lindsey Dawson, director of LGBTQ health policy at KFF, said the report provides a helpful update on the experiences of LGBTQ people at a time when dozens of state bills have focused on their access to health care and protection against discrimination.

“The survey suggests the need for specific, culturally appropriate policy solutions aimed at improving the well-being of the broader LGBTQ community to promote health equity,” Dawson said. “This could include policymaking that addresses discrimination in social institutions, such as healthcare, and challenges in accessing culturally competent mental health, as well as systemic drivers of stigma and discrimination.”

KFF surveyed 6,292 American adults online and by telephone from June 6 to August 14, 2023. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 2 percentage points. The margin of sampling error for LGBTQ adults specifically is plus or minus 7 percentage points.

The survey also found that certain groups of LGBTQ adults were more likely to report negative experiences in healthcare settings. More than one-third, or 41%, of lower-income LGBTQ adults, 35% of LGBTQ women, and 37% of LGBTQ adults ages 18 to 29 said a doctor or other health care provider He treated them unfairly or with disrespect in the last three. years, compared to 22% of top-earning LGBTQ adults, 25% of LGBTQ men, and 22% of LGBTQ adults age 50 and older.

Black and Hispanic LGBTQ adults were more likely than white LGBTQ adults to report unfair or disrespectful treatment by a health care provider because of their racial or ethnic background, the report found, although unfair treatment for other reasons, such as your gender, health insurance status. or ability to pay for care – crosses racial and ethnic groups among LGBT adults,” with 26% of Black LGBTQ adults, 23% of Hispanic LGBTQ adults, and 32% of White LGBTQ adults reporting unfair or disrespectful treatment for other reasons.

Despite reporting higher rates of unfair treatment and discrimination in healthcare settings, LGBTQ adults reported having positive interactions with healthcare providers most of the time. According to the survey, 70% of LGBTQ adults said their doctor or provider did the following four actions at least “most of the time” during visits in the past three years: 81% said providers explained things in a way they could understand; 81% said providers understood and respected their cultural values ​​and beliefs; 76% said providers involved them in making decisions about their care; and 70% said providers spent enough time with them during their visit.

Alex Sheldon, executive director of GLMA, an association of LGBTQ health professionals that advocates for more LGBTQ-inclusive medical research and training, said the survey findings underscore what we already know about LGBTQ health, particularly the “ critical link between discrimination and health outcomes.” .”

“We see that LGBTQ+ people report higher rates of anxiety, depression, and loneliness compared to our non-LGBTQ+ peers, but we also know that these disparities are not innate and are driven by the harmful ways in which we are. treated by the world around us,” Sheldon said.

Sheldon added that as long as LGBTQ people fear discrimination in healthcare settings and feel like they have to mask parts of their identity, they won’t be able to get the care they need.

“If we can’t tell the truth about who our partners are, about the nature of our work, about who our families are, then we can’t expect healthcare professionals to be able to accurately address any health issue that arises,” Sheldon said. . “They don’t have the full picture and they’re not willing to look for it. Until we are received with dignity, respect and self-recognition, we will not be able to get the full range of health care we need.”

The data from the KFF report, the authors wrote, show where additional anti-discrimination protections, provider training, and addressing mental health stigma are needed, among other solutions. Twenty-nine states have laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and/or sexual orientation in public places, including doctors’ offices. Ten states have religious exemption laws that allow medical professionals to refuse to care for LGBTQ clients.

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