Aug 2, 2021 - Health

LGBTQ patients report bad experiences with health care providers

In the last two years, has your health care provider...
Adapted from a KFF report; Chart: Connor Rothschild/Axios

Over a third of LGBTQ Americans say they've had a negative experience with a health care provider over the past two years, according to KFF survey research.

Why it matters: These findings, especially when coupled with the pandemic, should be a wake-up call about another big disparity in how the health care system treats different patients.

What they're saying: LGBTQ patients' negative experiences included providers not believing them, suggesting they were to blame for their health problems, making assumptions without asking, and outright dismissing their concerns.

  • Just 22% of non-LGBTQ patients reported similar experiences.
  • The pandemic has also taken a disproportionate toll.
  • LGBTQ workers were more likely to have had to quit their job because of the pandemic, and most of those who reported having problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months said it was at least in part because of the pandemic.

Between the lines: LGBTQ people are more likely to discuss mental health and non-medical issues such as housing or transportation with their doctors.

The bottom line: There is an obvious need for more research and data to sort out what is behind these warning signals.

  • But it's clear that LGBTQ patients — who are disproportionately likely to have low incomes and chronic conditions — need a more responsive health care system.

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