The last few decades have seen the emergence of a strong nationwide consensus among health system leaders about the importance of understanding the role that diverse aspects of patient identity such as race, ethnicity, and primary language play in health care. (10) Similarly, discussions of issues such as health disparities and patient-centered care convened by the Institute of Medicine, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and other expert bodies are increasingly reflecting the experiences and challenges that LGBT people encounter in health care.
What’s more, as the expansion of health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act continues, more individuals from all walks of life will gain access to coverage and care, some for the first time. Between 2013 and 2014, for instance, insurance coverage among LGBT adults with incomes under 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level—those potentially eligible for financial assistance to gain coverage under the law—rose from two in three (66 percent) to three in four (74 percent). (11) Welcoming these individuals as they seek health care will require leaders and their teams to place a clear emphasis on respecting and reflecting the diversity of the communities that they serve, including diversity related to sexual orientation and gender identity.