Anthem launches resource to improve care for LGBT community

According to a nationwide survey conducted by New York-based Lambda Legal, primary care for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations may be compromised by gaps in care that negatively impact clinical quality and health outcomes.

More than half of all respondents reported that they have either been refused care, experienced health care professionals who refused to touch them, used excessive precautions or were blamed for their health status. Moreover, research shows that often medical practices are not aware of or trained in the specific health needs of the LGBT community, which may cause patients to delay or avoid getting the most appropriate and timely care.

Today, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin announced the launch of a new online experience – Creating an LGBT-Friendly Practice, to address such gaps and offer strategies for enhancing physician-patient interactions. The learning resource is available at no cost to providers and their clinical staff, and it can be accessed from a computer, tablet or smartphone.  

“Helping individuals maintain a healthy lifestyle begins with an open and honest relationship between patients and their providers.  However, many LGBT patients are concerned that their sexual orientation or gender identity may adversely impact a provider’s perspective, and ultimately their care,” said Dr. Michael Jaeger, senior clinical director for Anthem.  “We are confident that this new online experience will help educate physicians and their staff about how an LGBT-friendly practice can go a long way in ensuring all patients receive personalized, quality-driven care.”  

Providers may apply their completion of the course toward continuing medical education (CME) credit certification. The training has been reviewed and is acceptable for up to one prescribed credit by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

In addition to the CME credit, providers learn how to practically apply best practices. Anthem’s eTraining features real-life stories that convey practical strategies for implementing culturally responsive care. To ensure its relevance for physicians, LGBT individuals and their families, Anthem collaborated with nationally renowned experts in LGBT health, clinical advisors and with its own Associate Network for Gay and Lesbian Equality (ANGLE), the company’s associate resource group dedicated to helping raise awareness and inclusion of the LGBT community both inside and outside of the company.  

“Our associate resource groups provide us with a real life look into the unique health care needs impacting the diverse communities we serve,” said Tracy Edmonds, chief diversity officer for Anthem Inc.  “We are proud of the work and insight ANGLE provided to help broaden, inform and help us extend meaningful solutions that meet the health care needs of our LGBT consumers. Likewise, we are grateful for the collaborative strength that made this course possible. It represents the shared goals of our leadership and underscores our commitment to corporate responsibility. ” 

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