HB 1805 passes HWI committee after Del. Adams’ personal testimony

The House of Delegates’ Health, Welfare and Institutions committee voted 13 to 9 to report HB 1805. In a heartfelt and personal testimony, the bill’s sponsor Del. Dawn Adams urged the committee to vote in favor to report. The bill requires the Department of Aging and Rehabilitation Services to prioritize older persons with significant social needs that are caused by noneconomic factors, including gender identity and expression.

 

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“As a 56-year-old lesbian, I am still shrouded in shame,” she told the committee. “When I would go to the doctor 10 years ago, I would leave in tears. Young people today have no idea the shame we grew up with and how much it hurts.”

She pointed out many older adults rely on their children for care and financial support, but many of those in the LBGTQ community don’t have children. 

“I’ve worked every day of my life terrified of being unsupported by our health systems,” she said.

Vee Lamneck, executive director of Equality Virginia, also testified in favor of the bill.

“We are seeing LBGT(Q) individuals going back into closet because they are afraid of being mistreated,” she said.

Delegate Mark Levine backs the bill, saying prejudice still exists in the health care system.

“When I came out, there were things I could not talk about openly about with my doctor,” Levine said.

The committee also voted to report and refer HB 1953, which defines the practice of licensed certified midwifery and directs the Boards of Medicine and Nursing to establish criteria for the licensure and renewal of a license as a certified midwife.

Those who spoke in favor of the bill said it would help to reduce the rate of infant mortality among rural and minority groups. It would also add to the number child birth providers in the commonwealth and extend the prescriptive authority for this type of midwife.