Building an Insurer-Driven, Performance-Based LGBTQ+ Provider Directory (IDEAS) - October 25

Recorded On: 10/25/2023


Finding providers who are able to treat LGBTQ+ individuals seeking healthcare with dignity and respect is a paramount priority for LGBTQ+ patients. Close to 10 percent of LGBTQ+ patients and over 20% of transgender patients report harsh or abusive language when receiving treatment, and nearly as many have been refused care due to sexual orientation or gender identity. These experiences discourage LGBTQ+ patients from seeking healthcare. Many have sought to address this gap by creating LGBTQ+ provider directories connecting LGBTQ+ patients to non-discriminatory providers. 

While provider directories are an efficient way to connect LGBTQ+ patients to providers, there are several challenges: directories are often opt-in, relying on provider attestation of their care for LGBTQ+ patients; directories may not distinguish between clinical ability to provide LGBTQ+ specific healthcare versus “friendliness” towards LGBTQ+ patients; oversight and monitoring of directory quality and patient complaints is lacking; and directories often don’t interface with healthcare systems, including insurance coverage and quality monitoring. 

The UPMC Health Plan sought to address these concerns by launching the UPMC LGBTQ+ Affirming Provider directory in June 2022, an accredited, opt-in, training-based provider directory allowing LGBTQ+ patients to identify providers who can validate the LGBTQ+ patient experience and create a safe and welcoming patient-provider relationship. This webinar will review the 1-year impact and initial positive feedback of this designation as well as the value and best practices of LGBTQ+ provider directories.

The AAMC IDEAS (Inclusion Diversity, Equity, Antiracism) Webinar series provides actionable information about DEI strategies that you can put into practice to become a more effective and successful leader, educator, and member of the academic medicine community.

Kristen L. Eckstrand, MD, PhD
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Wolff Center at UPMC

Dr. Eckstrand is a board-certified child & adolescent psychiatrist, an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, and the Medical Director for UPMC LGBTQIA+ Health Quality. Their research focuses on the neuropsychiatric underpinnings of trauma and resilience in adolescents, with an emphasis on minoritized communities and vulnerable populations, with an emphasis on LGBTQ+ populations. Dr. Eckstrand’s research has been published in top-tier journals such as JAMA Psychiatry and Biological Psychiatry, and been recognized by Honorary Membership in the World Psychiatric Association and awards from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, American Psychiatric Association, and Society for Biological Psychiatry. Dr. Eckstrand is nationally recognized for their leadership supporting the health of LGBTQ+ communities. Dr. Eckstrand has published four textbooks and numerous peer-reviewed papers on the health needs of LGBTQ+ communities, including on training healthcare professionals and optimizing organizations to provide affirming and responsible care to LGBTQ+ individuals. Dr. Eckstrand founded the Vanderbilt Program for LGBTQ+ Health, the second LGBTQ+-focused program at an academic health center in the country, co-directs the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s LGBTQ+ Health elective, and speaks nationally on the importance of diversity and identity in health. Dr. Eckstrand’s commitment to diversity has been recognized through awards from the American Medical Association, American Medical Student Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Tennessee Medical Association.

Stephanie Finneran, PhD
UPMC Health Plan

Dr. Stephanie Finneran (she/her) is a social health psychologist and behavioral designer dedicated to advancing health equity through community empowerment, advocacy, and co-design. Her work focuses on designing, implementing, and evaluating strategies and programs with an emphasis on behavior science, human-centered design, and the upstream factors that lead to health disparities. Since 2022, Dr. Finneran has led LGBTQIA+ efforts including access and services related to gender-affirming healthcare for transgender and gender diverse individuals at UPMC Health Plan.

J. Joy Gero, PsyD
Wolff Center at UPMC

J. Joy Gero, Psy.D. (she/her) is a psychologist who began her career at UPMC 15 years ago at UPMC Western Behavioral Health. During her time at UPMC, she has worked in leadership and training roles across the health care system including as the leader of patient relations at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and Program Director at UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital.  She was named the manager of LGBTQIA+ Health Quality in February of 2019 and helped lead a team that improved UPMC’s participation and designation in the Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index. Dr. Gero currently serves as the Director of Population Health and Improvement for UPMC and the Program Manager for LGBTQIA+ Health Quality. In addition to her work at UPMC, Dr. Gero has facilitated trainings and spoken about topics ranging from implicit bias, being an advocate for intersectional communities, moral injury, suicide, and anxiety.

Anne Schmidt, MD
UPMC Health Plan

Dr. Anne Schmidt is a graduate of Clemson University and the Medical College of Georgia. She completed her Family Medicine residency at the University of Tennessee’s Family Medicine program in Memphis, Tennessee, where she served as Chief Resident. Dr. Schmidt practiced family medicine in Birmingham, Alabama, before becoming the Medical Director for United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham, where she helped to develop an integrative model of medicine for people with disabilities in partnership with the Schools of Medicine, Optometry and Dentistry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Subsequently, Dr. Schmidt served as Senior Medical Director at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, and she currently serves as Vice President, Medical Management, for UPMC Health Plan, with responsibility for clinical strategy, operations and compliance for the medical management areas of the organization, including Medical Policy. Dr. Schmidt currently serves on the boards of the Bell Center for Early Learning, an intensive day program for infants and toddlers with disabilities, and Alabama Humanities Alliance, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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