While our society is adapting to change and becoming more open to differences, discrimination due to racial and sexual differences is still a cause for concern in the healthcare industry. Although physicians work tirelessly to treat and provide for patients of all backgrounds, the same cannot be said of patients, who have blatantly lashed out against physicians for being of a different race or ethnicity.
A survey conducted by WebMD and Medscape that polled over 1,000 medical professionals revealed that 59 percent of physicians confront bias from patients on an everyday basis. It is not uncommon for a patient to request a healthcare professional of a different race or ethnicity, and the number of patients that walk away from treatment or question the physician’s background are staggering.
Protecting the Rights of Healthcare Professionals
In response to the media’s exposure of harassment and discrimination in various workplaces, and to protect the rights of physicians and other healthcare professionals, several hospitals have altered their policies to prevent discrimination in the workplace. In 2017, Penn State College of Medicine revisited their patient rights policy to reduce discrimination, stating that it will not honor patient requests for providers based on gender, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. In addition to changes in policy, certain hospitals and universities have begun to develop training programs to assist healthcare professionals when dealing with discrimination from patients.
Dealing with Discrimination
There are several things that healthcare organizations can do to help prevent discrimination from patients:
Training. One of the most important steps in preventing racial discrimination is to speak openly about it. Healthcare professionals should be given training that will help them to speak to discriminatory patients. By encouraging physicians to speak with patients about the matter, those who are discriminated against are given a voice. Furthermore, physicians and healthcare professionals that witness discrimination should act to intercede on another’s behalf.
Action. Like Penn State’s policy change, other healthcare communities and facilities can enact policy changes to take a stand against discrimination. Healthcare administrators can publicly refuse to cater to biased demands and incorporate patient discrimination policies.
Support Groups. Forming a support group or establishing a diverse community made up of healthcare staff will allow victims a chance to speak out and share their experiences. Establishing a group will also allow staff to create cultural and racial awareness and may assist in providing proper training.
Philadelphia Physician Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Support Healthcare ProfessionalsIf you or someone you know has experienced discrimination in the workplace, you are not alone. Healthcare professionals, including physicians, experience discrimination daily, which should not be tolerated by any means. At Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C., our experienced team of Philadelphia physician lawyers are dedicated to assisting clients with all their needs. Do not hesitate to contact our offices online or by calling 215-569-1999 to schedule a free consultation. With an office conveniently located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.