The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has recognized nearly 500 hospitals as "Leader[s] in LGBT Healthcare Equality" in its 2016 Healthcare Equality Index (HEI).
The Index evaluates medical facilities in four key areas of "LGBT patient-centered care":
- An LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination policy;
- An LGBT-inclusive visitation policy;
- An LGBT-inclusive employment non-discrimination policy; and
- Staff training in LGBT patient-centered care.
For the report, HRC researchers reviewed the policies of more than 2,000 medical facilities. A subset of 568 facilities also answered an HRC questionnaire.
How hospitals are changing to serve transgender patients
Of the facilities that completed the questionnaire, 496 had adopted LGBT-inclusive policies in each area, according to the report, earning the designation of "2016 Leader[s] in LGBT Healthcare Equality."
HRC President Chad Griffin says he "commend[s] leaders of these inclusive facilities for using HRC's Healthcare Equality Index as a roadmap, and for advancing equality in health care for our nation's LGBT patients, their families, and for medical providers and caregivers."
The report highlights that a rising number of hospitals in the South have LGBT-inclusive policies. The South now ranks second only to the Northeast United States in total number of hospitals designated leaders in LGBT-inclusive health care, according to HRC blog post.
Meanwhile, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center earned the designation this year for the first time. Tari Hanneman, author of the HEI and Deputy Director of the HRC Foundation's Health and Aging Program, says, "Walter Reed joins diverse health care facilities across the U.S. that are making tremendous strides toward LGBT patient-centered care."
Around the nation: VA health system opens its first transgender health clinic
Remaining challenges for LGBT individuals
According to the report, many patients still encounter difficulty in interacting with the health care system:
- 56 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual patients report experiencing some type of discrimination; and
- 70 percent of transgender or gender non-conforming patients report discrimination (Kime, Military Times, 3/24; Halloran, "HRC Blog," Human Rights Campaign, 3/24; Healthcare Equality Index 2016 report, 3/24).
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