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April 10, 2018

The top health systems for LGBTQ-friendly care, according to the Human Rights Campaign

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    The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has recognized more than 400 health care facilities as "LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leaders" in its 2018 Healthcare Equality Index (HEI).


    The HEI evaluates medical facilities in five key areas based on their self-reported HEI 2018 survey responses and supporting documentation. The five areas are:

    • Non-discrimination and staff training—including patient non-discrimination policies, equal visitation policies, employment non-discrimination policies, and staff training in LGBTQ-centered care—for which providers can earn up to 40 points;
    • Patient services and support, for which providers can earn up to 30 points;
    • Employee benefits and policies, for which providers can earn up to 20 points;
    • Patient and community engagement, for which providers can earn up to 10 points; and
    • Responsible citizenship, for which providers can lose up to 25 points for large-scale official or public anti-LGBTQ activity.


    This year, 418 of the 626 facilities surveyed earned a top score of 100 and HRC's designation as a "2018 LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader." Another 95 respondents scored between 80 and 95 points, earning the "Top Performer" designation.

    In a statement, HRC President Chad Griffin said, "These top-scoring facilities are not only establishing policies that save LGBTQ lives every day, they have become vocal advocates for equality in the public square. This year, we are heartened to see corporate champions, including many health care systems, not just speaking out, but also doubling down on their commitment to equality."

    In addition, HRC spotlighted health care systems that had at least 10 facilities that participated in the survey. They included:

    • Veterans Health Administration;
    • Kaiser Permanente;
    • Northwell Health;
    • NYC Health + Hospitals;
    • Sutter Health;
    • Novant Health;
    • Bon Secours Health System; and
    • Saint Luke's Health System.

    HRC recognizes 'remarkable progress,' but says more change is needed

    HRC spotlighted "remarkable progress" made by health care facilities over the last year, including a:

    • 63% increase in training hours in LGBTQ-centered care;
    • 59% increase in hospitals with written gender transition guidelines;
    • 42% increase in hospitals offering trans-inclusive benefits; and
    • 21% increase in participants with transgender-specific policies.

    However, HRC also said more work needs to be done. When HRC compared policies at hospitals participating in the index against the policies of more than 900 hospitals across the country that did not participate, it found that 63% of non-participating organizations "have patient non-discrimination policies that include both sexual orientation and gender identity, and only 53% were found to have an LGBTQ-inclusive employment non-discrimination policy." Overall, according to HRC, "the equal visitation policy, at 93%, is the only [rate at non-participating organizations] that comes close to matching the rate of the participating facilities."

    HRC also spotlighted the progress that both Pennsylvania and Ohio have made in the past year. In 2017, Pennsylvania and Ohio were included among the 27 states that ranked in the index's lowest-ranked category. But this year, Pennsylvania has 34 facilities participating in the HEI survey and is ranked fifth among all states in the number of LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leaders with 19 facilities, while Ohio has 27 facilities participating in the HEI survey and is tied for third among states in the number of LBTQ Healthcare Equality Leaders with 24 facilities (Turner, HRC release, 3/27; 2018 Healthcare Equality Index, accessed 4/20; HEI 2018 LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leaders, accessed 4/10; Health Equality Index methodology, accessed 4/10; Newswise, 3/27; Johnston, UC San Diego Health Newsroom, 3/27).

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