At CMS, we put patients first in the work that we do. An important part of putting patients first is empowering them to make the decisions that are best for them, while also supporting efforts across the country to improve the quality, accessibility, and affordability of patient-centered care.
If we are going to truly improve patient care, we need to know whom we are serving, including sexual and gender minorities, and what their needs are. To accomplish this, we collect, and help others collect, accurate sociodemographic data. These data, which are kept private and anonymous, allow organizations to provide meaningful and tailored information to patients so that they can work with their providers to make the healthcare choices that are right for them.
While health care organizations have made great strides in collecting certain sociodemographic data, more work needs to be done, particularly when it comes to sexual and gender minorities. During Pride month, which recognizes sexual and gender minorities, we want to highlight a number of resources that are available to assist organizations in collecting better data so that they can better serve their patients. These resources include:
- A training hosted on the Medicare Learning Network for health care providers to provide information about the disparities experienced by sexual and gender minorities and ways this data can be collected to improve the quality of care. The training guides Quality Innovation Networks-Quality Improvement Organizations and other organizations through five modules - (1) building a culture of equity, (2) data collection, (3) data analysis, (4) quality improvement, and (5) interventions.
- The Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) Clearinghouse . The Clearinghouse is designed to help improve the understanding of sexual and gender minority health and disparities, and provide information on health care access, health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services.
- The Practical Guide to Implementing the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care: For Racial, Ethnic and Linguistic Minorities, People with Disabilities and Sexual and Gender Minorities . This toolkit helps organizations who choose to implement the HHS National CLAS Standards. The standards are intended to advance health equity, improve quality, and help eliminate health care disparities.
At CMS, we take great pride in putting all of our patients first and empowering them with the information they need to make the best health-related decisions for themselves, and their families. We hope that these resources are helpful as we all work together to improve patient care for every American.