A North Carolina healthcare office is facing criticism after a patient discovered her sexual orientation was listed as a medical condition.
Kristina Rodriguez said she ordered blood work from Carolinas Healthcare System’s Lake Park Family Practice. When she received the documents, she found the system listed “lesbianism” as a medical condition under the label, “All problems.”
Rodriguez explained that seeing a report with sexual orientation listed as a medical condition could lower someone’s self-esteem.
“This listed as a medical problem could really set someone back…make them think something is wrong with them,” Rodriguez said. “I hope to bring change to where stuff like that is not disclosed on your medical record because that’s persona information.”
After complaining to the facility, a doctor and the director of Carolinas Healthcare System contacted her. Rodriguez discussed the matter with the two officials. However, the director told her the listing intends to protect Rodriguez from feeling offended.
Lake Park Family Practice later released a statement saying “sexual orientation is not a clinical diagnosis.”
Officials said the facility solicits information to provide a more holistic treatment. They claim that all information, including sexual orientation, helps them better understand the patient, their families, and their lives.
While the facility’s website does have information on anti-discrimination, there is no policy directly protecting LGBT+ individuals. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index lists facilities with LGBT non-discrimination policies. Lake Park Family practice was not included.
Despite this, Carolinas Healthcare System said they strongly support diversity and inclusion, including LGBT patients and their families.
“We are continuously working to improve our process and have work underway to enhance our efforts to appropriately collect patient information,” they said. “We will be working closely with our physicians and providers to ensure that information included in medical records is appropriate, respectful, and consistent with our belief in the importance of diversity.”
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