Fear of discrimination causes many lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) individuals to delay obtaining health care. An article in the American Medical News revealed that 28% of transgender and gender nonconforming people postponed medical care when they were sick or injured due to concerns about discrimination. Similarly, a previous survey found that stigma and the potential for discrimination are obstacles for lesbians and gays seeking health care, with 16% of lesbians reporting they put off getting health care because of discrimination concerns.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has outlined some of the top health issues for LGBT populations in a Resource Kit that helps create awareness among healthcare providers of the unique needs and health concerns of LGBT individuals. This kit includes a discussion about gender identity; a list of terms and definitions specific to LGBT populations; lists of top health concerns for lesbians, gay men, bisexual men and women, and transgendered people; and resources. Health issues addressed in this kit include heart disease, cancer, obesity, and behavioral health. Harvard Pilgrim offers resources for members and providers on these topics on the health and wellness section of our website and through our partnership with Optum/United Behavioral Health.
How Optum/United Behavioral Health (Optum/UBH) can help your patients—For complex clinical situations, Optum/UBH is available to provide consultative assistance. Practitioners can call the Optum/UBH Physicians Consultation Service at 800-292-2922. To refer a patient for behavioral health services and to facilitate the coordination of care, call Optum/UBH at 888-777-4742.