Healthcare Equity Index Scores Health Care Facilities for Equitable Treatment of LGBTQ Patients, Visitors, and Employees
August 27, 2019
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) recently released its 12th annual Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), which scores health care facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) patients, visitors, and employees.
A total of 46 Pennsylvania facilities participated, and 19 earned HRC’s “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” designation, as they offer transgender-inclusive health care benefits to their employees.
This is the third year that participants were scored based upon how many LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices they have in place related to four different criteria:
- Non-Discrimination and Staff Training
- Patient Services and Support
- Employee Benefits and Policies
- Patient and Community Engagement
A record 680 health care facilities participated in this year’s survey.
The HEI was developed to give health care facilities the information and resources they need to ensure that LGBTQ people have access to truly patient-centered care. The HEI offers all participating facilities training in LGBTQ health care needs. Facilities may enroll as many staff as they would like in free online training. This year, 90 percent of participants met the HEI staff training requirement.
Consumers can search HEI’s online database and interactive map to see how facilities near them rate, which gives them the ability to choose where they would like to receive care.
During 2011, The Joint Commission issued a standard that required accredited facilities to include sexual orientation and gender identity in their non-discrimination policies. The Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services now require that facilities allow visitation without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity. Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act prohibits sex discrimination in any hospital or health program that receives federal funds.
The HEI is primarily intended for inpatient facilities that provide general medical and surgical care. Specialty hospitals and certain outpatient health care facilities may request to participate in the HEI. Typically, a facility or organization must have at least 100 employees to be eligible. Facilities may apply online.
HAP participates in the American Hospital Association Institute for Diversity and Health Equity’s #123forEquity pledge campaign and encourages hospitals and health systems to join in this effort to eliminate health care disparities and ensure that every person in every community receives high-quality, equitable, and safe care.