SAGE Applauds New York State Department of Health for Including LGBT-Inclusive Questions in its Statewide Medicaid Assessment Tool
These changes follow similar developments in elder services and position New York as a model for patient care and statewide data collection on the health of LGBT older people
The UAS-NY was implemented in March 2013 and is used by nurses and social workers in the assessment and intake process for all patients entering into Medicaid home- and community-based long-term care in New York. The system facilitates patient access to programs and services, and fosters consistency in the assessment process, improving long-term care for New Yorkers. Eight Medicaid programs will use the UAS-NY, including adult day health care, assisted living, care at home, managed long-term care, and more. This assessment system will now collect data on LGBT older people who navigate this system for the first time in the state’s history.
“The New York State Department of Health has taken a visionary, important step towards making sure that LGBT older people throughout New York are properly assessed in the Medicaid long-term care system, and in turn receive the best, patient-centered care possible,” said Michael Adams, executive director of SAGE, the largest and oldest national organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT older people. “We also congratulate our partners in the New York State Office for the Aging for taking similar steps in 2013 to address the needs of LGBT elders.”
The New York State Department of Health included questions related to sexual orientation and gender identity in the UAS-NY based on guidance from SAGE. In addition, the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) began collecting data on sexual orientation and gender identity in 2013 to address health disparities among LGBT elders in their network.
“We know that LGBT older adults are more likely to live alone and lack other supports that we know keep people healthy. NYSOFA is committed to supporting all older adults with diverse programs and services, and we look forward to continuing to strengthen our outreach and education efforts,” said NYSOFA Acting Director Greg Olsen in June 2013, when NYSOFA first announced these changes.
Conservative estimates suggest that there are approximately 1.5 million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people age 65 and older throughout the United States. These numbers are expected to double over the next three decades, given the rapid growth in older Americans. As with the rest of the country, New York State will witness this surge in the LGBT elder population—making it even more critical to address the health concerns of LGBT elders in the state and throughout the US.
“Both the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Office for the Aging are modeling what it means to improve the long-term care of LGBT older people through proper data collection and intake assessment. It’s an approach that will serve to inspire and inform similar efforts throughout the country so that LGBT elders living in other states can receive the high-quality, patient-centered care they deserve,” said Robert Espinoza, senior director for public policy and communications at SAGE.
The Institute of Medicine in its March 2011 report, The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding, emphasized the need for collection of gender identity and sexual orientation data. Due to limited data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity, it can be difficult to identify the specific nature of health disparities in the LGBT community and formulate effective means of addressing them.
To learn more about the Uniform Assessment System for New York, please visit the New York State Department of Health.
To learn more about collecting data on LGBT older adults, read Inclusive Questions for Older Adults: A Practical Guide to Collecting Data on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, from SAGE’s National Resource Center on LGBT Aging.
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competence training through SAGECare. With staff in New York City, Washington, DC and Chicago, SAGE coordinates a growing network of 30 SAGE affiliates in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Learn more at sageusa.org and lgbtagingcenter.org.