HRC and Tennessee Equality Project Continue Push for Healthcare Equality
December 22, 2011 by Paul Guequierre
HRC and the Tennessee Equality Project continue to call on all hospitals across the country to review their policies and practices related to hospital visitation and participate in the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), after a Tennessee hospital denied multiple requests for visitation by the same-sex partner of a patient. After Tennessee’s Out and About Newspaper reported staff members excluded her from the room because she was not a legal spouse or family member, in violation of federal hospital visitation regulations, HRC and TEP sprang to action. The Hospital immediately set up a meeting to apologize to the couple and assured us it won’t happen again.
The incident in Tennessee has been resolved, but it’s a sad reminder that healthcare discrimination continues to be a major problem in this country. Fortunately, there are steps we can take to advocate for healthcare equality and make sure this discrimination ends. HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index is an annual survey of healthcare policies and practices related LGBT patients and their families. The HEI can serve as an organizational assessment tool by assisting hospitals in modifying their policies, and can help hospitals comply with Joint Commission standards addressing non-discrimination, and new HHS regulations on visitation. The HEI also helps LGBT patients find quality healthcare free of prejudice and discrimination and empowers patients to encourage healthcare professionals to embrace LGBT healthcare equality.
If your hospital doesn’t participate in the HEI, ask them why. In times of need, you can be an empowered patient. The HEI can help.
The HEI 2012 survey is currently open for completion online. More information is available at www.hrc.org/hei.