The Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently held a Listening Session on LGBT and HIV/AIDS Issues. The meeting, comprised of stakeholders from LGBT organizations and HIV/AIDS organizations, as well as larger membership organizations such as the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), was convened by Director, Leon Rodriquez. During the meeting, Director Rodriquez stressed the OCR’s belief that civil rights and quality of care are intertwined.
Listening session participants provided examples of policies and criteria that OCR might take into account to protect the civil rights of, as well as prevent and address discrimination against people living with HIV/AID and their families, as well as LGBT individuals and families. Director Rodriquez spoke of the OCR’s successful efforts to use the gender non-discrimination language in Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to address and combat discrimination against LGBT persons.
NASW’s participation in the meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the need for broader technical assistance to provider communities to ensure social workers (and allied health and behavioral health providers) are up to date on health information privacy as well as where to access more information about the civil rights obligations of covered entities.