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What You Need to Know About Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Questions in Healthcare

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If you have been to Gunnison Valley Health’s hospital, urgent care clinic or mountain clinic you were probably asked a few questions about your sexual orientation and gender identity; and you may be wondering why.

The first thing you need to know is that if you choose to answer the questions, the information is kept confidential and protected by HIPAA the same as all your other personal health information.

So why are we asking the questions? This is one of our health equity initiatives and the goal is to provide more patient-centered care. Asking these questions are a recommendation of both the National Academy of Medicine and the Joint Commission because they are essential to providing quality care and can help to identify gaps and disparities in the community.

We want to provide personalized and culturally responsive care that focuses on your specific needs which means we need to know a little about more about you. The information can help your provider recommend the most appropriate preventative care and build a more trusting and positive relationship. We also want to ensure that we are treating our patients with the utmost respect. We demonstrate respect for people in many ways; pronouncing your name correctly, listening to your preferences and using your preferred pronouns are some examples.

Please know that you also have the right to not share the information if you are uncomfortable doing so for any reason. When you are given the short form to complete, you should also be given a brochure that explains why we are asking the questions and how the information is used. You can mark the “decline to answer” box if you don’t want to answer any questions or leave questions blank and only answer the ones you choose.

The Gunnison Valley is a thriving and diverse community, and we want our health system to a place where everyone feels welcome and receives exceptional care. Every one of us is committed to creating a health system that is inclusive, accessible and patient-centered and our health equity initiatives are one of the ways that we are making this a reality.