(TRENTON) – To ensure the LGBTQ community is receiving the best health care possible, Assembly members Joann Downey (D-Monmouth), Andrew Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset), and Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson) sponsor legislation passed by the Assembly Human Services Committee requiring licensed hospitals or other health care facilities to collect gender and sexual orientation information provided voluntarily from patients.
Currently, many hospitals, facilities and health care providers do not discuss or collect any pertinent information regarding the sexual orientation or gender identity of their patients. As a result, important health issues go undiscussed, health disparities are often not addressed, and crucial health care services may not be appropriately delivered.
Under the jurisdiction of the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health, the bill (A-1020) would address this issue and guarantee that vendors who sell or lease electronic health record systems to licensed State facilities include a gender and sexual orientation section. This information would be protected by the same privacy laws that pertains to all health information.
Upon committee approval of the measure, Downey, Zwicker, and Chiaravalloti issued the following joint statement:
“Every patient deserves the most comprehensive medical services available. A patient’s gender identify and sexual orientation are key components to establishing a complete and accurate health profile.
“It is important that the members of the LGBTQ community have the opportunity to identify themselves and not rely on the often-inaccurate observations of others.
“Not only will this legislation give health care providers the necessary information to improve the LGBTQ community’s physical well-being, but it will also go a long way toward addressing emotional and mental health issues as well.”