Healthcare Equality Index Released
May 12, 2009
Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association released the 2009 Healthcare Equality Index (HEI). The HEI project was started three years ago to educate healthcare policymakers and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender healthcare consumers to get rid of barriers and biases that keep us from taking care of ourselves and each other. View or download the report here. Unfortunately, the situation for LGBT families in the healthcare system remains an uneven patchwork of state laws and local policies. In a few states, same-sex couples enjoy statewide recognition. But in many more, they are strangers in the eyes of the law. A key finding in the 2009 report is the dramatic disparity between the number of patient non-discrimination policies inclusive of sexual orientation and those inclusive of gender identity. Less than seven percent of participating facilities protect patients from discrimination based on gender identity, while nearly three-quarters of participants provide these protections based on sexual orientation. This finding is symptomatic of the healthcare discrimination faced by transgender Americans every day, from the explicit denial of healthcare services to insensitive remarks by medical staff. Comments on the report and the state of healthcare policies for LGBT people from Joe Solmonese, Dr. Rebecca Allison, Dr. Jason Schneider, Bradley Hinrichs and Dr. David Haltiwanger after the jump...
HRC President Joe Solmonese: “While many facilities are leading the way in fairness for LGBT patients and their families, on the whole, the healthcare industry is failing to adequately address the needs of our community. But tools like the HEI can turn this trend around. By helping to remove barriers and create truly welcoming healthcare environments, we can build a stronger, healthier community.”
Transgender health advocate and HEI Advisory Council Member Dr. Rebecca Allison, a cardiologist practicing in Arizona “Tragically, the importance of protecting transgender patients and their families from healthcare discrimination is made clear to us time and time again when we hear stories of discrimination. As healthcare providers, we have the responsibility to ensure that all of our patients are given the culturally competent care they need and the respect they deserve. The policies and practices highlighted by the HEI provide a starting point for ensuring transgender competence.”
Dr. Jason Schneider, President of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association “We believe the growing level of participation we're seeing by hospitals and healthcare facilities across the country reflects a genuine interest in the healthcare industry to better understand and address the specific needs of LGBT patients. We’re encouraged by this level of participation, and believe that the HEI is moving the healthcare industry toward policies, standards, and training that will ensure equal treatment for the LGBT community.”
Bradley Hinrichs, Vice President at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago "As helpful as I think the HEI Initiative is in bringing focus to the issue of LGBT equity in the area of healthcare, I also feel that it is a shame that it is needed. The bar that it sets for achieving full compliance is not really so high. Hopefully, it will become unnecessary to survey healthcare providers relative to these issues in the near future. These same issues relative to race, religion, color, etc. have been part of our societal norms for quite some time."
David Haltiwanger, Ph.D., Director of Clinical Programs and Public Policy, Chase Brexton Health Services "Knowing that we are sensitive to the impact of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity attracts other patients who have experienced their own forms of discrimination. Recognizing the importance of same-sex partners even when law does not has helped us understand that, for all of our patients, the most important person in their life may not be who you first think it is. Providing LGBT-affirming healthcare is based in an appreciation for the importance of cultural context in all healthcare, and that has served as an excellent starting point as we have added other underserved groups into our Chase Brexton family"
May 17, 2013
Issues: Health & Aging
May 17, 2013