Manager of Public Policy, PROMO Missouri
This year has proven to be a monumental year for LGBT Missourians. Those monumental steps have been the recognition of out-of-state marriages by the State of Missouri, and the leadership of nearly 47 Missouri hospitals, who have included 105 new LGBT welcoming policies to their core values. As an LGBT Missourian it certainly gives me relief to know that I can access health care facilities and be me: my authentic self.
In 2013, only two Missouri Hospitals, Children’s Mercy in Kansas City and the VA in St. Louis, qualified as leaders in the Human Rights Campaign Care Equality Index (HEI). In the coming days the health sector will see the launch of the 2014 HEI, where several of Missouri’s top hospitals have been reviewed on their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) welcoming policies. This year, Missouri will see several hospitals both in rural and urban areas that have been working to ensure their facilities are welcoming to all.
To learn more about the policies of Missouri Hospitals, click here for a map detailing their LGBT welcoming policies.
We have truly made LGBT health matter among Missouri’s top hospitals, but the work of the LGBT health policy project does not stop there. Through the technical assistance of Dr. Scout, Director of LGBT HealthLink, we will continue to work with health and social services organizations in Missouri to ensure that we are creating spaces free from discrimination. Through our collaboration with Sherrill Wayland, Executive Director of SAGE Metro St. Louis, we will be training Missouri’s health and social service professionals to understand the unique needs of LGBT patients. And we will continue to advocate for the health of LGBT families and our families of choice.
As we begin to look at the legal future for the LGBT community, we must be concerned with the growing disparities we find in LGBT health. Our next frontier is on the borders of health and making sure that we are a strong and healthy community. I’m humbled to be a part of this work. Having experienced discrimination in a health care setting myself, I assure you your voice is not going unheard.
Manager of Public Policy, PROMO
Building off of the work of Tracy McCreery, former Manager of Public Policy for PROMO, my name is Andrew Shaughnessy, current Manager of Public Policy. In the last installment of our Missouri Case study, Tracy observed firsthand the difficulty in getting Missouri-based hospitals, which clearly have LGBT friendly policies, to stand up as leaders in filling out the Human Rights Campaign’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI). Don’t worry – this still remains the case for some hospitals – but we are seeing a positive shift from many of our targeted hospitals.
Going into this year, our work centered around hospital outreach and education around LGBT welcoming policies. We were interested to see how Senior-level Hospital Executives would react to our outreach efforts for the HEI and its welcoming policy requirements. Given the prior environmental circumstances we faced, we were pleasantly surprised by the reaction we have received thus far. From what we have heard back from our first round of outreach, we know that our work is affecting positive policy change for LGBT Missourians.
Several targeted hospitals, including two network wide hospitals, which will include 14 new hospitals to our original list, have committed to improving their LGBT welcoming policies. Out of the targeted 20 hospitals that PROMO had originally reached out to regarding HEI requirements, we have made contact with, and provide technical policy assistance to six. Three Senior-level Hospital Executives disclosed to us that our outreach efforts had ‘inspired’ them to take action and update their policies.
Now whether they chose to be recognized as ‘2014 Leaders’ will be the next challenge we face, however I can sleep easier knowing that this effort is working. Sometimes all hospitals simply need is a nudge from local LGBT organizations to start the process. Andrew Shaughnessy Manager of Public Policy, PROMO
The Network for LGBT Health Equity
As you may know from my previous blog LGBT HEALTH POLICY CHANGES COMING TO MISSOURI Scout and I have been providing technical assistance to two amazing groups in MO funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH). The Project is solely focused on LGBT health policy change initiatives, which is huge. We are really excited this project will be able to develop state-level policy change models that we can replicate across the country. The Missouri Foundation for Health is truly a pioneer not only in providing funding for such an initiative but having long standing history in ensuring LGBT communities are served in the state. Both SAGE and PROMO have been focusing on innovative policy change initiatives poised to have lasting impact in the state, with long-term implications aiding in changing social norms for local LGBT people in MO.
In an effort to highlight some of the amazing work going on in MO, we will be launching a series blogs written by the project leads at both SAGE and PROMO. The goal of the series is to highlight notable policy advancements, project successes, and process pieces leading to sustainable policy changes in the state. I would like to take a moment to introduce our two new guest bloggers, Tracy McCreery and Sherrill Wayland. We have established a new category on the blog (Show Me MO) to highlight and follow these posts. Make sure you check back often to follow the drama of building real-world state level health policy change.