VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Program
The VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System is proud and committed to serve Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Veterans in an open, supportive, and safe environment. We thank you for your service. Our staff are sensitive to and provide support for a wide range of issues related to families, relationships, isolation, discrimination, bigotry, and exclusion that some in the LGBT community sometimes face.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
America is home to an estimated one million LGBT service members and Veterans, many of whom have served the US military with honor and distinction.
With the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010, repeal of the transgender service ban, and federal agencies from the Pentagon to the VA observing Gay Pride Month, opportunities abound for new developments in LGBT Veteran health care. We hope you choose VAAAHCS and join our growing team of Veterans and staff to create an LGBT Veteran community and health care system in this exciting time of social advancement!
The VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System provides an open, supportive, and safe environment for all who served our nation. Our staff are sensitive to a wide range of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender issues related to families, relationships, isolation, discrimination, bigotry and exclusion that some LGBT Veterans can sometimes face. We offer individual, group, couples, and family therapy, support for pre-and-post gender reassignment, Telehealth services, and Hormone Replacement Therapy. LGBT Veterans face increased health risks and unique challenges in accessing quality health care. VA is developing policies, provider-education programs, and services to ensure high-quality, patient-centered care for LGBT Veterans. VA strives to be the national health care leader for LGBT Veterans by ensuring that care is provided in a sensitive, safe environment at VA medical facilities nationwide.
Since 2010, the Ann Arbor VA Equal Employment Opportunity LGBT Special Emphasis Program has focused on increasing LGBT voice, awareness, acceptance, and training across the health care system and surrounding communities. Come and join our LGBT family, we have many resources available for you.
RELEVANT POLICIES AND SERVICES
Our Patient Non-Discrimination Policy has specific language that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity (actual and perceived).
The VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System Visitation Policy allows a same-sex partner, family member, friend, or other individual to be present with the patient for emotional support during the course of his/her stay. Same-sex partners are recognized as the patient’s family, even if the partners are not legally married.
Definition of Family
VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System adopts the definition of family used by the Human Rights Campaign's National Healthcare Equality Index. Family refers to any person(s) who plays a significant role in an individual's life. This may include individual(s) not legally related to the individual. Members of family include spouses, domestic partners, and both different-sex and same-sex significant others.
Veteran patients may designate any person as a decision-maker for care if you become unable to make these decisions yourself. This includes designating a same-sex partner as a surrogate decision maker. Advanced Directive agents are chosen by the Veteran and do not need to be biologically related. Please inform staff if you desire to create an Advance Directive.
Documentation in Medical Records
The VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System maintains the confidentiality of information about sexual orientation and sexual behavior, as it does with all other private health information. We encourage you to inform your healthcare provider of your sexual orientation/gender identity so appropriate care can be provided.
Changing your Name and/or Sex in your Medical Record
Your name in the medical record will reflect your legal name. The sex in your medical record should reflect your self-identified gender. You have the right to request that name and sex are updated as appropriate. There are established procedures for changing your name and sex with the VA Privacy Officer. If you would like a copy of the fact sheet on how to change your name and/or sex in your medical record, please let your health care provider know so he/she can obtain a copy for you.
Individuals' Request for a Copy of Their Own Health Information
VA Form 10-5345a
Concerns and/or Complaints
If you feel you are not being provided compassionate care at VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System or the Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs), we encourage you to make your concerns known to your provider and/or a Patient Advocate.
HELPFUL LINKS FOR LGBT VETERANS
LGBT Veteran Resources*
National Resources for Transgender Veterans*
LGBT Health Resources*
*Links will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites.
(Links will open in a new window)
VA HEALTHCARE FACILITIES PARTICIPATE IN HEALTH CARE EQUALITY INDEX
Starting in 2013, VA health care facilities were encouraged to participate in the Human Rights Campaign’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI). Participation in the HEI is voluntary and consists of reporting health care systems’ policies, activities, and trainings related to LGBT patients and families; it is known as an indicator of an LGBT-positive health care environment. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation designed the HEI to allow U.S. health care organizations to assess the degree to which they provide LGBT patient-centered care, to identify and remedy any gaps and to make public their commitment to LGBT patients and their families. Each year, The Healthcare Equality Index is published identifying participating facilities and those that achieved “Leader” status in LGBT care. The VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System elected to participate and presently maintains “Leader” status for 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. by interested individual, family member, eye care specialist, or agency representative. Services are available to any eligible Veteran with an honorable or general discharge from the military and any active duty Service Member diagnosed as legally blind or having a severe functional vision loss.
RESOURCES FOR STAFF:
For more information, resources, or training please visit the VA intranet Veteran care services. This website includes LGBT Veteran outreach materials, VA policies, and trainings.
For more information contact:
Diana L. Cass
EEO/Special Emphasis Program Manager
LGBT Veteran Care Coordnator
Phone: (734) 845-5190
John Scanlon, RN
LGBT Program Coordinator,
VAAAHS Diversity Advisory Committee
Phone: (734) 845-3659