Central PA Medicine Spring 2018 - 12

daup h i n cm s .org

Features

Despite the recent
media coverage on the
topic,
Islander) will collectively become the "new
majority" of our country, making up more
than half of our nation. These changing
national demographics will likely result in
an increase of diversity in the nation's, and
our local, medical workforce. As an example,
the entering class of 2017 at Penn State's
College of Medicine was 54% women and
43% from groups traditionally defined as
minority populations.

against them based on an aspect of diversity,
they cannot discriminate against medical
staff for the same reason.

Second, the revised policy provides "requests for changes of provider or other medical
staff based on the provider's race, ethnicity,
religion, sexual orientation or gender identity
will not be honored. Requests for provider
or medical staff changes based on gender
will be considered on a case by case basis and
Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Med- only based on extenuating circumstances."
ical Center has a commitment to diversifying Protocols are being developed for how this
its workforce to reflect the changing national provision will be implemented, including
demographics. It also has a goal of creating how to handle biased patient requests in
a safe and respectful work environment for urgent medical situations.
its employees, while providing quality care
to its patients As a result, in May of 2017,
Although Penn State Health was an early
the organization revised its Patient Rights adopter in adding anti- patient bias language,
and Responsibilities policy, PC33-HAM, similar language is appearing in patient rights/
which already provided that employees of responsibilities documents across the country.
the organization could not discriminate or
exhibit bias against patients based on aspects
So what does this mean going forward?
of diversity, to include two new provisions. For patients, it means that, although there is
The first one is that "threats, violence, disre- still the right and the opportunity to choose
spectful communication or harassment of a provider that one feels will provide the best
other patients or of any medical center staff care, that choice cannot be solely on the
member, for any reason, including because provider's race, ethnicity, religion, gender,
of an individual's age, ancestry, color, culture, sexual orientation/gender identity, age, or any
disability (physical or intellectual), ethnicity, other aspect of diversity. Dr. Brian McGillen,
gender, gender identity or expression, genetic Director of Hospital Medicine at the medical
information, language, military/veteran center notes, "Healthcare organizations have
status, national origin, race, religion, sexual an obligation to maintain the highest stanorientation, or other aspect of difference will dards of safe care for our patients. In addition
not be tolerated." This prohibition applies to to protecting our providers, this policy helps
the patient as well as their family members, ensure protection of our patients by limiting
representatives, and visitors. This provision transitions of care, which has been associated
is designed to advise patients and others that, with adverse in-hospital safety events."
just as medical staff cannot discriminate
12 Spring 2018 Central PA Medicine

For physicians and other medical professionals, it means intervening when a patient
has demonstrated bias, or risk the departure
of diverse providers. This will increase employment-related costs, and as the diversity
of the potential workforce is increasing, it
could mean not being able to replace those
individuals who have left.
For organizations, it means taking steps
to proactively develop strategies to prevent
patient bias and to address patient bias
when it occurs. Sharing expectations about
mutual respect between patients and medical
professionals, and implementing protocols
when that respect is not demonstrated, is
critical for attracting top quality employees
and providing the highest quality of care
for patients.

References
Colby, S. and Ortman, J, Projections of the Size and
Composition of the U.S. Population, 2014 to 2060,
March 2015, https://census.gov/content/dam/Census/
library/publications/2015/demo/p25-1143.pdf.
Paul-Emile K, Patient racial preferences and the
medical culture of accommodation. UCLA Law
Rev. 2012;60:462-504. Available at: http://www.
uclalawreview.org/patients%E2%80%99-racial-preferences-and-the-medical-culture-of-accommodation.
PDF available at: http://www.uclalawreview.org/
pdf/60-2-3.pdf
Jain, Sachin, The Racist Patient, Annals of Internal
Medicine, April 16, 2013, http://annals.org/aim/
article/1676460/racist-patient.
Reddy, Sumathi, How Doctors Deal With
Racist Patients, Wall Street Journal, January 22, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/
how-doctors-deal-with-racist-patients-1516633710.
Weeks, Lachelle, "When the Patient is Racist, How
Should the Doctor Respond?" Statnews, June 12,
2017, https://www.statnews.com/2017/06/12/
racism-bias-patients-doctors/.


http://www.dauphincms.org https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/ http://www http://www.uclalawreview.org/patients%E2%80%99-racial-pref http://www.uclalawreview.org/ http://www.annals.org/aim/ https://www.wsj.com/articles/ https://www.statnews.com/2017/06/12/

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Central PA Medicine Spring 2018

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