HRC Blog

Healthcare Equality…It’s About Quality Care

This post is by Tom Sullivan, Deputy Director of the HRC Foundation Family Project:

The Healthcare Equality Index 2011 was released today by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Family Project.The report details the results of our most recent HEI survey, rating how equitably healthcare facilities treat their LGBT patients and employees. The survey focuses on four main policy areas: patient non-discrimination, visitation, cultural competencytraining and employment non-discrimination.

This year, the report rates a record 87 survey respondents, representing 375 facilities nationwide. Twenty-seven respondents achieved the status of “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” for meeting all applicable rated criteria. Check out the list of Leaders and read their testimonials. You can also search for rated facilities in your state.

So, why the HEI? We know that the fear of discrimination causes many LGBT people to avoid seeking care and, when they do get treatment, studies have shown that LGBT people are often not treated with the respect that all patients deserve. For five years now, to help end this discrimination,the HEI has served as an organizational assessment tool, assisting healthcare administrators in making their policies more explicitly welcoming of LGBT patients and their families.The HEIalso providesuseful resources to hospitals working to comply withaccreditation standards and new HHS regulations.

As the HEI continues to grow year after year, the message fromour healthcare industry contacts is clear – LGBT inclusionis key to providing high quality healthcare to all.

There is no better way to explain the importance of the HEI than to listen to the personal stories of people who have faced discrimination in healthcare and also those who have devoted themselves to improving healthcare for LGBT people and their families. As part of the HEI release, we’ve created two new videos to share these stories:

  • Watch the video of Cecilia Chung talking about healthcare equality from the patient’s perspective.
  • Also, check out video of Mark Laret, CEO of UCSF Medical Center and the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, on the importance of participation in the HEI.

You can download the Healthcare Equality Index 2011[PDF] and our companion “Call to Action” for healthcare professionals [PDF] today! Then share these links with others, especially any contacts that you have in the healthcare industry.

And if anyone asks you what is meant by “healthcare equality” you can tell them that, first and foremost, it’s about quality care for all.

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