Gov. Hochul signs legislation to combat healthcare challenges for LGBTQ+ communities

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ALBANY, NY (WENY) — Last week, Gov. Hochul signed a legislative package that would allow homeless and runaway youth under the age of 18 to make their own healthcare decisions and require specialized gender identity training for nurses and home healthcare aides.

Yarrow Brown, Founder of Southern Tier Trans Advocacy and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, underwent two major surgical procedures in 2018. They wrote on the patient instruction form to be called by their preferred pronouns, they/them. But the healthcare providers taking care of them at the time did not get their pronouns correct, Brown said.

For them, this legislation is personal.

“They are starting to open up the realization, that they also have to realize that people like me exist,” they said.

Other advocates said this legislation serves as a “ray of sunshine” for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“I think this signals a bit of hope. And I also think, or I hope that it is showing LGBTQ+ New Yorker’s that our legislation is listening to us,” said Meagon Nolasco, Communications Coordinator at The Pride Center of the Capital Region.

Laura Ehrich, Vice President of Public Policy for the New York State Association of Healthcare Providers, said the specialized education proposed in this legislation will be in addition to the current programs offered through the State Department of Education.

Ehrich added that while this legislation will have a positive influence on the healthcare community, it could be financially difficult to implement.

“I think the concern amongst home care providers is that training is not currently reimbursed,” she said.

Ehrich said the cost will depend on how the legislation is implemented, but state funding or developing a reimbursement process could go a long way.

Moving forward, the legislation will officially go into effect in about 15 days.


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