As the movement to secure and protect equality for LGBT Coloradans advances, so does our understanding of how sexual orientation and gender identity and expression are part of our everyday lives. One thing we learned from our previous report on LGBT health, Invisible: The State of LGBT Health in Colorado, is that LGBT people often feel invisible in our health systems. With that reality in mind, One Colorado has made it a fundamental priority to ensure that our lives and our families are visible in our health systems.
Our newest report, Becoming Visible: Working with Colorado Physicians to Improve LGBT Health, follows up on our Invisible report’s findings and recommendations — with a focus on empowering LGBT patients to seek and receive care that fits all of their needs, as well as working with Colorado providers to better understand and care for LGBT Coloradans. This report is a starting point in our work with providers to promote such efforts in our health systems. One Colorado, with the help of the Colorado Medical Society and Denver Medical Society, surveyed roughly 380 Colorado physicians — asking them how they see, include, and treat LGBT Coloradans.
Some of the survey’s key findings:
- Colorado physicians overwhelmingly reported high levels of comfort in serving LGB patients. They reported slightly lower numbers with respect to serving transgender patients — but still, a super-majority reported being comfortable.
- A number of physicians and health care systems are already taking steps to create practices that are LGBT-friendly; they have policies prohibiting discrimination, provide domestic partner coverage options, and use LGBT-friendly forms.
- The survey revealed a greater interest in becoming more LGBT-friendly among physicians practicing in the Denver metro area, among younger physicians in the state, and among male physicians.
- Colorado physicians reported they are more comfortable with patients self-disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, and less comfortable asking their patients directly.
- Colorado physicians generally believe they are already treating their LGBT patients equally to their other patients, and that LGBT patients should feel comfortable. However, equal treatment does not mean that LGBT Coloradans are or feel they are getting the care they need.
To read this new report and our recommendations for providers to help make LGBT people feel more visible in our health systems, click here.
One Colorado will continue working with providers, health systems, and patients until we can truly say that Colorado is the healthiest state in the nation — for all Coloradans.