“I am disheartened to learn that according to a recent Human Rights Campaign (HRC) report on how health care institutions treat patients regardless of gender or sexual orientation, out of the 60 New York state hospitals and other health care institutions that were invited to participate in the study, only eight did. Five of these facilities were named ‘leaders in LGBT health care equality.’ We can and should do better than that. I urge all health care institutions in the state of New York to strive for excellence in LGBT health care equality.

“The report evaluates institutions on four criteria: patient nondiscrimination, employment nondiscrimination, visiting policies and training programs that are focused on caring for LGBT patients. While I applaud the hospitals that scored well, I encourage all health care professionals to see this report as a call to action. In order to receive proper health care, patients and their health care providers must have an open and honest dialogue. Accurate medical histories are vital for medical professionals to deliver quality care.

“To target the health gap within the LGBT community, the Council has partnered with the Pride Agenda, Strength in Numbers, Hunter College, Beth Israel Hospital and the New York City Department of Health. By collecting data on the health of LGBT people, we will be better equipped to improve the health and well-being of LGBT New Yorkers. The LGBT community has long been invisible in health surveys and through our efforts, we will ensure that they will no longer be ignored.

“On Sunday when I walk in the Heritage of Pride March along with thousands of other New Yorkers supporting the LGBT community and our rights, my thoughts will also be with those who will not be able to attend: those who might be ill, in hospitals or other medical facilities. I truly hope that they are being treated with the respect, dignity and compassion they deserve.”