Bill Title: Health Care Facilities – Discrimination (LGBTQ Senior Bill of Rights)
Bill Number(s): HB1010
Bill Sponsor(s): Delegate Gabriel Acevero (D-39, Montgomery County)
Legislative History: Referral to Health and Government Operations Committee
What will this bill do?
This bill prohibits discrimination against an individual or resident in a healthcare facility based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or HIV status. It requires each health care facility to add these categories to its existing non-discrimination policy.
The bill also protects the privacy rights of LGBTQ residents by requiring facilities to ask for their gender identity, name and pronouns. It also mandates that health care facilities use visual barriers, like doors or curtains, to ensure privacy for all residents, including transgender and non-binary individuals, when they are partially or fully unclothed, and it only allows health care staff who are responsible for treatment to be present when a resident is partially or fully unclothed. Finally, residents are given the right to refuse to be examined, observed or treated by staff if the primary purpose is educational or informational without losing access to quality treatment.
Individuals who violate this act are subject to penalties.
Why is this important?
LGBTQ+ elders who reside in long-term care facilities, including nursing facilities, immediate care facilities, and residential care facilities for the elderly, often face discrimination and harassment. In FreeState Justice’s house meetings, many LGBTQ+ elders recounted various forms of discrimination experienced in nursing homes, including fear that same-sex married couples may not be allowed to reside together and fear of experiencing disrespect and marginalization because of a lack of training for health care staff and non-discrimination policies. For example, one resident residing in a long-term care facility had asked for LGBTQ+ programming but was told that “it might offend others.”
The right to live in security with respect and dignity are rights that LGBTQ people should access at every stage and in ever area of life. This bill provides essential non-discrimination protections to ensure that LGBTQ+ elders can live without fear of discrimination and marginalization.