VA Western New York Healthcare System
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.
VA Western New York Healthcare System 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.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Program
VA Wesern New York Healthcare System (Buffalo/Batavia) provides an open, supportive and safe environment to meet the needs of LGBT Veterans and their families. Our program offers individual, family and couples therapy for LGBT Veterans. Therapy is also available for Veterans wanting to explore their sexual orientation/identity further. The staff at VA Western New York Healthcare System receive annual LGBT sensitivity training, as well as a transgender mental health services training. The LGBT population can receive other treatment modalities based on their needs.
VA Western New York Healthcare System is accredited by the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization and accredited by HEI.
LGBT Health Services
Individual, group, couples and family therapy
Pre-and-post gender reassignment support
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Multi-disciplinary Transgender Treatment Team
Veteran care via Specialty Care Access Network - Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes
LGBT Veterans face increased health risks and unique challenges in accessing quality health care. VA is developing policies, provider-education programs, and services to ensure high quality, patient-centered care for LGBT Veterans.
The VA Western New York Healthcare System 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 are training our staff in culturally and clinically-competent care for LGBT Veterans. We are focused on providing the most respectful health care environment possible.
VA Western New York Healthcare System embraces the national policies that guarantee access for LGBT Veterans in the tri-state area. 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 VA Western New York Healthcare System .
Below are relevant policies and services:
Our Patient Non-Discrimination Policy has specific language that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity (actual and perceived).
VA Western New York Healthcare System Definition of "Family"
VA Western New York Healthcare System adopts the definition of "family" put forth by the Human Rights Campaign's National Healthcare Equality Index. "Family" refers to any person(s) who plays a significant role in an individual's life. This may include individual(s) not legally related to the individual. Members of "family" include spouses, domestic partners, and both different-sex and same-sex significant others.
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. Please inform staff if you desire to create an Advance Directive.
Documentation in Medical Records
VA Western New York Healthcare System maintains the confidentiality of information about sexual orientation and sexual behavior, as it does with all other private health information. We encourage you to inform your Healthcare provider of your sexual orientation/gender identity so appropriate care can be provided.
Changing Your Name and/or Sex in Your Medical Record
Your name in the medical record will reflect your legal name. The sex in your medical record should reflect your self-identified gender. You have the right to request that name and sex are updated as appropriate. There are established procedures for changing your name and sex with the VA Privacy Officer. If you would like a copy of the fact sheet on how to change your name and/or sex in CPRS, please let your health care provider know so they can obtain a copy for you.
Concerns and/or Complaints
If you feel you are not being provided with compassionate care at the VA Western New York Healthcare System, we encourage you to make your concerns known to your Provider and/or a Patient Advocate.
Helpful Links for LGBT Veterans
LGBT Veteran Resources*
National Resources for Transgender Veterans*
- Changing your name and gender in Medical Records Kits
- VA National Policy on Transgender Care
- International Foundation for Gender Education
- National Center for Transgender Equality
- Traveler Information for Transgender Travelers from the TSA
- 10 Things Transgender Persons Should discuss with Their Healthcare Care Provider
LGBT Health Resources*
- CDC LGBT Health Page
- American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts for Gay & Bisexual Men
- American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts for Lesbian & Bisexual Women
- 10 Things Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexuals and Transgender Persons Should discuss with Their Healthcare Provider
* Links will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs Website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked Websites. The link will open in a new window
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.