Studies have shown members of the LGBTQ community face significant challenges when seeking health care, from blatant discrimination to lack of provider training in the unique needs of these communities. Because of the issues they face, members of the LGBTQ community are less likely to take advantage of preventative care or seek medical assistance when sick. Cedar River Clinics is hoping to counter these issues with their new LGBTQ Wellness Services program which was launched on June 8.
“We saw a real need and many of our clients and staff encouraged us to develop this program. Our goal is to offer the LGBTQ community, especially lesbian and transgender people who tend to be under-served, health care in a safe and culturally responsive environment that focuses on their needs,” said Simon Ellis, an ARNP and CNM with a special focus on providing care to LGBTQ individuals and families.
Services offered include annual exams, cancer screenings, PCOS screenings & treatment, STI testing & treatment, birth control, safer sex education, gender affirming hormone therapy, as well as surgical referrals and post-surgical follow up (genital reassignment, breast surgery and cosmetic) and ID clerical services for transgender clients.
This program is funded in part with a grant from Pride Foundation. Cedar River Clinics offer a sliding fee scale and accept private insurance, Take Charge and DSHS Medical Assistance/Medicaid. While services are available during regular clinic hours, one day a month at both the Renton and Tacoma clinics will be dedicated to the LGBTQ Wellness Services.
“Each and every client who receives care at Cedar River Clinics is treated with dignity, respect, and support. For over 30 years we have worked to counter the isolation, stigma and shame that society sometimes imposes on women about their sexuality and reproductive choices. We are so excited to now be able to offer specialized care to our LGBTQ neighbors!” said Beverly Whipple, Executive Director, Cedar River Clinics.