CHICAGO- Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services ( HHS ) announced the final rule inviting health care workers to impose their religious beliefs on people seeking healthcare for themselves and their family members. This rule will affect everyone but will profoundly impact the lives of LGBTQ individuals, women, and members of religious minorities.
"Center on Halsted is aggrieved by this "Denial-of-Care Rule," said CEO Modesto Valle. "The elevation of religious and moral objections over the health and well-being of LGBTQ individuals is a clear attack on our community. We are proud to stand with so many others across the country in making certain that LGBTQ individuals and our loved ones do not have to live in fear of bigotry when in need of potentially life-saving healthcare."
Healthcare networks already have patient centered protections in place for employees with religious objections, that minimize the risk to anyone seeking healthcare. The new HHS Rule makes who will receive health care and who will not, arbitrary. Accessing healthcare is a matter of trust and this rule places yet another barrier between the LGBTQ community and the system that should be their safety net.
"One of the central reasons Center on Halsted has worked so hard for the rights of LGBTQ communities is because we know first-hand what happens when laws act at barriers to the full range of care," said Vanessa Sheridan, Director of Gender Equity and Inclusion at Center on Halsted. "Being able to be open and honest about yourself with your healthcare provider is critical to receiving the most accurate diagnosis."
Through this rule, HHS fails to consider the impact on patients. It also threatens providers who will be held accountable to a confusing and unworkable set of rules. If found out of compliance, their funding could be cut, potentially debilitating healthcare systems across the country.
"This is an attack on the LGBTQ communities and puts lives at risk," said Valle. "Center on Halsted will now have to devote precious resources to this fight, but we will not stand by when our communities are being threatened. We never have and we never will."
—From a press release
Center on Halsted is the Midwest's largest and most comprehensive LGBTQ community center.