Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Veteran Care
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VHA) is committed to providing quality care to all Veterans including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Veterans. Excellent care has no boundaries.
Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks seeks to promote the health, welfare, and dignity of LGBT Veterans and their families. We are committed to making sensitive and high quality health care accessible. Our policies and practices focus on ensuring a safe, welcoming, and affirmative environment of care for LGBT Veterans. Our employees receive training in clinically competent care that is responsive to the unique needs of LGBT Veterans.
VHSO 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 we train our staff in culturally and clinically-competent care for LGBT Veterans. VHSO is focused on providing the most respectful health care environment possible.
VHSO has a number of policies to ensure competent care for LGBT Veterans. These include both national and local policies that guarantee access for 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 at VHSO. The LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator for VHSO is Karen Pardue, LCSW, at ext. 65131 .
Non-discrimination: Our non-discrimination policy has specific language that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Visitation: We allow 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.
Advanced Directives: Patients 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.
Documentation in Medical Records: VHSO maintains the confidentiality of information about sexual orientation and sexual behavior, as it does with all other private health information.
Concerns and/or Complaints: If you feel you are not being provided with compassionate care at VHSO, we encourage you to make your concerns known. Concerns regarding a specific service (e.g., Mental Health, Primary Care) should be directed to the corresponding contact person for that service. This information can be easily found on this website through the Services page. In addition, you are encouraged to discuss your concerns with the Patient Advocate.
VHSO is a Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation awarded the staff of VHSO, the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) 2020 Equality Leader Status!
VHA policies assuring inclusive language relevant for LGBT Veteran care, including non-discrimination policies, hospital visitation, caregiver education and the definition of family at VHA:
- Rights and Responsibilities of VA Patients and Residents of Community Living Centers
- Rights and Responsibilities of Family Members of VA Patients and Residents of Community Living Centers
- Provisions of Health Care for Veterans Who Identify as Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual Health Care: VHA Directive 1340
Providing Health Care for Transgender and Intersex Veterans: VHA Directive 1341
- Transgender People & Military Records*
- DD0149 Application for Correction of Military Record*
- Changing Your Name on Your DD-214*
*Denotes a non-VA resource, VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites
LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator (VCC) Program
As of March 2016, each VA facility has a local LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator (VCC) who is appointed by their facility leadership. The VCC is responsible for promoting best practices for serving LGBT Veterans and connecting LGBT Veterans to services.
To learn important information about the unique health risks of LGBT Veterans, download these relevant fact sheets. Here you can also find information about relevant services offered by VA.