Following accusations of discriminatory behavior from staff at a facility controlled by New Jersey’s biggest health care provider, Barnabas Health, a local equality organization has met with Barnabas executives who have agreed to work on diversity issues.
Said Garden State Equality in a statement posted Friday:
ADVANCEMENT for LGBT health care in New Jersey. Today, Garden State Equality met with executives at Barnabas Health, New Jersey’s largest health care network. Barnabas agreed to work with Garden State Equality on awareness, diversity and outreach reflecting LGBT patients’ needs. We will be certain to include the health care needs of same-sex couples and LGBT individuals’ and the additional needs of our transgender sisters and brothers. At our meeting today was Garden State Equality member Paul Zilber, whose story you may have read about on Facebook. When his partner was at a Barnabas facility, Paul could not visit him for part of the time. Barnabas executives were terrific today, and they have given Paul a letter of regret.
This follows a Care2 exclusive report on how Paul Zilber, 20, was denied access to his same-sex fiance at a Barnabas mental health facility and faced treatment that appeared to single them out solely on the grounds of their sexual orientation. Barnabas had previously apologized if the facility failed to meet its standard of care but this new meeting seems to spell out that the organization is willing to be visible in how it addresses the issues raised by the incident.
As those readers who have followed our previous coverage will know, Paul hoped to raise awareness for his cause and created a Care2 petition. That petition has now received close to 27,000 signatures.
Paul previously told us how grateful he is for the support he received, saying, “To every single person who signed this petition, I want to thank all of you for finding it in your hearts to help me fight the injustices that we both had to endure. We are both beyond grateful to have each and everyone of you helping us make sure this does not happen to anyone else in this facility. Again, from both of our families, we are extremely grateful for all of you.”