Serving the medical needs of LGBT patients

Connected coverage — selected articles on trends, challenges and controversies in the changing world of medicine.

Posted April 8, 2013

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Physicians are well aware that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients face particular obstacles in the health care system, and fully meeting the clinical needs of this population can be challenging for medicine. Like other minorities in the U.S., LGBT patients can be affected negatively by disparities in care that stem from social stigma and a lack of understanding about unique health needs.

American Medical News has reported on the role of organized medicine, educators and others in making sure that all patients — regardless of sexual orientation — have their medical needs met in a way that is professional, compassionate and thorough. That commitment starts with the training of future physicians and continues when doctors speak out against the harm LGBT patients endure when encountering distrust and discrimination.

High court briefed on health impact of same-sex marriage ruling

The social issues involved in the gay marriage cases before the U.S. Supreme Court received significant attention, but some physician organizations made it clear that there are medical ramifications as well. The groups said denying civil marriage rights to same-sex couples creates harmful stress for patients and deprives children of the positive health benefits that come when parents are allowed to marry regardless of gender.

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Legal showdown over gay conversion therapy waged in 2 states

Some physicians said they have seen firsthand the psychiatric harm gay patients have had from undergoing conversion therapy in an attempt to turn them straight. In some instances, other physicians have been involved in providing the therapy, rooted in the roundly dismissed belief that sexual orientation is a mental illness that can be repaired. In some of these cases, courts will decide whether the therapy should be allowed.

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New doctors trained to overcome LGBT health care gap

LGBT individuals make up an estimated 3.4% of the U.S. population, but many medical students receive only a few hours of training on the particular health needs of the patients in this demographic — if they receive any training at all. Now more medical schools are trying to change that by offering comprehensive courses on LGBT health issues or mandating that this education be incorporated into the basic curriculum.

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Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

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American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

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Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

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Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

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Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

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How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

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Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

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Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

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