SPECIALIZED PRIMARY CARE: Lambda Provides Gay/Lesbian Care
The Los Angeles-based Gay and Lesbian Center last month opened "the first primary-care medical group in the nation to cater exclusively to gays and lesbians." Called the Lambda Medical Group, the two-physician group is "affiliated with 247-bed USC University Hospital and 762-bed Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and participates in 14 HMOs." Sue Rochman, director of communications for the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, said, "There are gay and lesbian health centers throughout the country, and there have been great outreach efforts in specific communities. But this is the first time there has been a place where (gays and lesbians) can receive specific primary care." Modern Healthcare notes that Dr. Joseph DeFoto, one of the participating physicians, said the "need for gay and lesbian primary care is apparently so great that more than 400 potential patients have inquired about Lambda." He said the new group "will allow us to address some of the overlooked problems in the community," such as stressing the importance of regular gynecological exams, which lesbians "often skip." Lorri Jean, executive director at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, "said some individual physicians target their practices at gays and lesbians, but most limit their practices to plastic surgery or treatment of AIDS patients." And the majority of those doctors "often accept only cash or indemnity coverage and participate in few managed care plans." Jean estimated that Lambda would "treat 1,500 patients in the first year and 4,500 within three years," and that more doctors would join the group. Jean also said the group would also treat heterosexuals, estimating they would comprise 15% of their patient population (Shinkman, 10/5 issue).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.