Anglican Watch

Inova, a former Episcopal hospital, denies LGBTQ couples equal rights

Inova Hospital discriminates against LGBTQ+

In the midst of our coverage of General Convention 81 and the Kennesaw DebacleAnglican Watch wants to take a brief break and shift our focus to a former Episcopal hospital, Inova, located in Northern Virginia, and the hospital’s deceptive track record on LGBTQ rights. Specifically, we are following multiple situations in which the hospital, one of the area’s largest employers, is denying equal rights to LGBTQ+ individuals,

To be clear, federal law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. Hospital policy does the same.

But in practice, Inova is far less inclusive.

For example, by federal law, hospital patients may have anyone they wish as visitors as long as they comply with other hospital rules, like number of patients in the room at one time, masking requirements, etc.

Yet in one situation, a critically ill patient has been denied the right to have his same-sex husband staying with him overnight. There has been no discussion of the reasons, no effort to troubleshoot any issues. Yet the Patient Relations staff, which has several openly gay team members, is being told by the clinical staff they do not want the patient’s husband staying overnight.

For the record, we get that hospital staff isn’t always keen on family visits. But all the evidence shows that family support is a vital aspect of recovery, and the patient in question has, in several cases, been in great risk of death. Indeed, he was previously admitted with a medical condition with almost a one in two incidence of mortality.

And frankly, if nursing staff cannot deal with family members, overnight or otherwise, they need to find a new career path. A patient who is at risk of death inherently fears being alone at night, and any healthcare provider who ignores these psychological needs is, at best, uncaring.

Inova started as an Episcopal entity, but became independent in recent years as it became increasingly clear that the denomination was unable to run a modern-day health care system. That said, Inova continues to maintain ties behind the scenes with the Episcopal Church.

In recent years, Inova also has had other LGBTQ+-related problems, including:

  1. Issues with maintaining the privacy of health care information belonging to LGBTQ+ persons.
  2. One known assault of an openly gay patient by a staff member.
  3. Retaliation against LGBTQ+ persons who have complained of discrimination.
  4. Refusing to honor powers of attorney involving gay patients.
  5. Substandard nursing care for LGBTQ+ patients.

Ostensibly, the hospital welcomes LGBTQ+ persons and is currently celebrating Pride with special wallpapers on hospital computer terminals, Pride flags on the properties, and more. Additionally, the hospital operates a Pride clinic in Falls Church, which provides primary care to persons 12+, with an emphasis on serving LGBTQ+ populations.

Numerous Inova medical and support staff are openly LGBTQ+.

Current and former Inova patients who have experienced discrimination are encouraged to contact Anglican Watch via our contact form with details. We are evaluating further additional steps to ensure that Inova acts with integrity in all areas of its patient care and operations.


  1. Hi Mike and Eric. While I’m not leaving my name, I’ve worked closely with you following Mike’s heart transplant. As a result, I am very aware of the bad behavior you’ve faced from CTU4 and I am deeply sorry.

    It’s no excuse — far from it — but much of the issue appears to be bad communication within the hospital, bad behavior by Mike’s family member (you know who I mean), and Patient Relations, which bungled this situation from beginning to end.

    For the record, your concerns are absolutely right. When Mike asked for the relevant family member, he was very delirious, even though cogent. At the point, the conversation should have shifted to you, and the assumption should have been that, as the holder of Mike’s power of attorney, you are the person best placed to protect Mike’s interests.

    There’s also no legitimate reason for Mike to have developed bedsores or to be severely malnourished while on the unit.

    As to not staying overnight, that is heartless and cruel. Every study shows that patients do best when they have the family they choose with them. Having overnight guests is particularly important, as the lonely nightime hours can be very traumatic for isolated patients. Sometimes, there’s nothing as reassuring as having someone you love hold your hand.

    My observation is that Mike is very sweet and you guys have a close, loving relationship. Any medical professional who doesn’t want you staying overnight — especially when they have never discussed any potential issues directly with you — needs to find a new job. I also have charted that Mike gets very anxious when you are not there.

    I am also glad that family member is out of the picture. Her conduct was disturbing, irrational, and arrogant; she has profound boundary issues. Nor does she understand the risk of infection, even when wearing a surgical mask. I leave it at that.

    As you know, there is a lot of “family” here, and a great many of us are quietly pulling for you, as are others.

    If the administration doesn’t do right by you, I’ll quietly get with you offline to help you find other solutions. The post-transplant team is great, but you need to know that you will be treated with respect, and that you guys can be together for any challenges that come up. CTU4 just doesn’t have that level of integrity or compassion —- and anyone with a shred of common sense can see how lucky Mike is to have you.

    Just know I am so very sorry for this charlie foxtrot.

  2. I’m not sure how you can call the Inova system a “former Episcopal hospital”. Inova’s Alexandria hospital was founded by people with Episcopal Church connections in the 19th century, but the remainder of Inova started as a separate, secular, and much larger entity, which ultimately bought up Alexandria hospital in the 1990s. So while Alexandria hospital has historic Episcopal connections, it was never an Episcopal hospital, and the rest of Inova has no connection to the Episcopal church.

    1. The Board of Lady Managers, which consisted of the daughter of the Episcopal Bishop of Virginia and friends of hers from St. Paul’s, Alexandria, founded and ran the Alexandria Hospital, initially directly, then their successors, also Episcopal, ran the hospital via positions on the Board of Directors until the merger with Inova in 1996. The Board of Lady Managers remains engaged with the system, particularly via Alexandria.

      Behind the scenes, the relatively high percentage of Episcopal doctors in NVA, together with crossover to the long-term care facilities still owned by the diocese, resulted in close ties. This is reflected, inter alia, in the dedication ceremonies for various facilities, including Mt. Vernon—which, ironically, now has a much higher percentage of Muslim staff than members of TEC.

      Due to the ties, we do want to flag this issue for all readers, which is that Inova talks a good game, but often falls short in reality.

      That said, the person who wrote the article, did, I think, overstate the ties to TEC. And I’ve been stretched thin lately, so I’ve had to delegate more fact-checking than is otherwise ideal.

      Thank you for your feedback.

      Eric B. ~~ Editor

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