Do Ask, Do Tell


Legal Affairs Staff

Federal law permits health care organizations to collect data on demographic factors such as race, ethnicity, and primary language data from patients for quality improvement purposes. Sexual orientation and gender identity data are no different. In fact, as part of the Healthy People 2020 initiative, (12) as well as under the Affordable Care Act, (13) the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has expressly committed to collecting more data on sexual orientation and gender identity through its surveys and programs.

The Affordable Care Act requires adherence to nondiscrimination in health care on the basis of gender identity and sex stereotyping, which encompasses some forms of discrimination against LGBT people. (14) Laws in roughly 160 local jurisdictions, including 18 states, also protect LGBT patients from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Collecting sexual orientation and gender identity data is an essential component of effective monitoring of consumer experiences and compliance with all applicable nondiscrimination laws.

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