Denial of Care Rule Threatens LGBTQ Health

On May 2, 2019, the US Department of Health and Human Services released the final Denial of Care rule which encourages healthcare providers who object to healthcare services based on religious or moral grounds to discriminate against LGBTQ patients, people living with HIV, and women seeking reproductive healthcare services. GLMA had previously stated opposition to the Denial of Care rule, and encouraged its members to submit comments to HHS expressing how the rule would negatively impact the health and well-being of LGBTQ people.

GLMA President Gal Mayer, MD, MS, issued this statement following the release of the final Denial of Care rule:

“The Denial of Care rule does nothing but encourage discrimination in healthcare against LGBTQ people, people living with HIV and women, all of whom already face frequent and pervasive discrimination when seeking healthcare. The government’s role is to support access to care by protecting patients’ rights, not to promote the notion that healthcare providers have a license to discriminate against already vulnerable patient populations.

“The Denial of Care rule also stands in direct conflict with the Joint Commission and the major medical and health professional associations representing physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, psychologists, social workers and other healthcare providers that have adopted standards to ensure all patients, including LGBTQ patients, are treated with respect and without bias and discrimination in all healthcare settings. All major health professional associations, including the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Psychological Association and National Association of Social Workers, have adopted policies recognizing the detrimental impact discrimination has on the health and well-being of LGBTQ people.

“As we expressed previously, this regulation endangers the lives of LGBTQ people by encouraging healthcare providers to refuse care based on a moral objection. Any such measure is antithetical to the values we share as healthcare providers.

“In light of this announcement, GLMA will redouble its advocacy efforts to prevent discrimination against LGBTQ patients and ensure healthcare providers uphold the ethical standards of their professions by providing care to patients free of bias and discrimination.”

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