Erie VA Medical Center
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Veterans
The Erie VAMC is committed to providing top quality care to all Veterans including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Veterans.
We recognize that diverse populations have distinctive needs and are training our staff in culturally and clinically-competent care for LGBT Veterans. We are focused on providing the most respectful health care environment possible.
The Erie VAMC embraces the national policies that guarantee access for all LGBT Veterans. These policies (and more) are available to download from this website. We encourage LGBT Veterans and families to be aware of these rights as you seek care in the Erie VAMC.
Below are relevant policies and services:
Our Patient Non-Discrimination Policy has specific language that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity (actual and perceived).
Erie VAMC Visitation Policy allows for a same-sex partner, family member, friend, or other individual to be present with the patient for emotional support during the course of their stay. Same-sex partners are recognized as the patient’s family, even if the partners are not legally married.
Erie VAMC Definition of “Family”
The Erie VAMC adopts the definition of “family” put forth by the Human Rights Campaign’s National Healthcare Equality Index. “Family” refers to any person(s) who plays a significant role in an individual’s life. This may include individual(s) not legally related to the individual. Members of “family” include spouses, domestic partners, and both different-sex and same-sex significant others.
As a patient you may designate any person as a decision-maker for care should you become unable to make these decisions yourself. This includes designating a same-sex partner as a surrogate decision maker. Advanced Directive agents are chosen by the Veteran and do not need to be biologically related. Please inform staff if you desire to create an Advance Directive.
Documentation in Medical Records
The Erie VAMC maintains the confidentiality of information about sexual orientation and sexual behavior, as it does with all other private health information. We encourage you to inform your Healthcare provider of your sexual orientation/gender identity so appropriate care can be provided.
Changing Your Name and/or Sex in Your Medical Record
Your name in the medical record will reflect your legal name. The sex in your medical record should reflect your self-identified gender. You have the right to request that name and sex are updated as appropriate. Amending the gender or sex of the Veteran in the medical record is based on the Veteran making a letter of request to the facility Privacy Officer and providing the official documentation as required by VHA policies. Sex reassignment surgery is not a prerequisite for amendment of gender or sex in the Veteran’s record.
Concerns and/or Complaints
If you feel you are not being provided with compassionate care at the Erie VAMC, we encourage you to make your concerns known to your Provider and/or a Patient Advocate. If you feel you are being discriminated against, please discus your concerns with Nadean Sitter, LGBT Special Emphasis Program Manager at (814) 860-2907 or our Equal Employment Opportunity Manager, Connie Faluszczak at (814) 860-2585. Ms. Faluszczak can discuss the process in place for civil rights complaints.
Helpful Links for LGBT Veterans
LGBT Veteran Resources*
- American Veterans for Equal Rights
- Outserve / Service Members Legal Defense Network
- TransFamily Cleveland
National Resources for Transgender Veterans*
- Changing your name and gender in Medical Records Kits
- VA National Policy on Transgender Care
- International Foundation for Gender Education
- National Center for Transgender Equality
- Traveler Information for Transgender Travelers from the TSA
- Ten Things Transgender Persons Should discuss with Their Healthcare Care Provider
LGBT Health Resources*
- CDC LGBT Health Page
- The National Lesbian Health Organization
- American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts for Gay & Bisexual Men
- American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts for Lesbian & Bisexual Women
- 10 Things Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexuals and Transgener Persons Should discuss with Their Healthcare Provider