VA New Jersey Health Care System
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Veterans
The VA New Jersey Health Care System (VANJHCS) 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.
The VANJHCS 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 VANJHCS.
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 New Jersey Heath Care System Definition of "Family"
The VANJHCS 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
The VANJHCS 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 VANJHCS, we encourage you to make your concerns known to your Provider and/or a Patient Advocate.
Staff• Joe Vernic, LCSW, LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator, Lyons, 908-647-0180 x4160
• Sue Horn, LCSW, Lyons PACT, x6502
• Tricia Zurawski, LCSW, Brick CBOC, 732-836-6023
• Michael Vaillancourt, LCSW, CBOC, 908-625-8427
• Leah Hedrick, LCSW, CBOCs, x5665
• Shaun Henry, LCSW, E Orange Center for Health and Wellness, x2948
• Faith Waters, LCSW, E Orange PACT, x3214
• Dr. Kavitha Lingineni, E Orange Pact, x3146
• Dr. Beryl West, Lyons Chief Ambulatory Care, x4452
• Janine Decker, Women Veterans Program Manager, x2716
• Megan Rourke, Assistant to the Director, x1275
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