Improving LGBT healthcare for military veterans
The U.S. Veterans Health Administration (VHA), which is likely the largest provider of LGBT healthcare in the world, is implementing various system-wide changes aimed at improving LGBT care, including transgender e-consultations to aid interdisciplinary providers and the addition of a self-identified gender identity field to all veteran record systems. These actions and other planned VHA system changes are discussed in an Editorial published in LGBT Health.
In the Editorial entitled "Transforming a System: Improving Patient-Centered Care for Sexual and Gender Minority Veterans," the directors of VHA's LGBT Program for Patient Care Services (Washington, DC), Michael Kauth, PhD and Jillian Shipherd, PhD, describe the expanded transgender e-consultation program. Interdisciplinary teams of providers that have undergone intensive training respond to clinical questions submitted by a VHA clinician through a patient's electronic health record. The authors also describe the upcoming placement of LGBT Veteran Care Coordinators at VHA facilities and a new national directive on LGB veteran healthcare that is in development.
"VHA's LGBT Program, directed by the authors, has truly transformed VHA into a leader in LGBT healthcare, as evidenced by the fact that 19% of all facilities designated as Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality by the Human Rights Campaign in 2016 are VHA facilities," says LGBT Health Editor-in-Chief William Byne, MD, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. "Other healthcare organizations might want to consider how to replicate this success."