HRC Blog

New Resource for Hospitals on Welcoming LGBT Patients and Families

The following post comes from HRC Family Project Manager Alison Delpercio:

Today The Joint Commission, the nation’s largest healthcare accreditation organization, released a new guide for hospitals outlining best practices and resources for welcoming LGBT patients and their families. The release of this field guide follows the implementation of The Joint Commission’s new LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination standards (PDF) which went into effect in July of this year.

This is huge. Why? Well, The Joint Commission is responsible for accrediting more than 19,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States. This guide and the new standards send a message to hospitals that LGBT patients should be included in their efforts to provide the highest quality care possible to all. (You may recall that the Department of Health and Human Services has sent a similar message to hospitals, specifically when it comes to visitation rights of LGBT patients. We blogged a few weeks ago about Secretary Sebelius herself making this message loud and clear.)

As HRC President Joe Solmonese noted in our press release today, “Too often members of the LGBT community face discrimination while accessing healthcare or avoid seeking healthcare all together. Every hospital in the U.S. should take advantage of the resources available in this guide and ensure LGBT patients and families get the care they deserve.”

The field guide features “a compilation of strategies, practice examples, resources, and testimonials designed to help hospitals in their efforts to improve communication and provide more patient-centered care to their LGBT patients.”

One of the resources highlighted throughout the guide is the HRC Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI). As you may know, the annual HEI surveys and rates respondents on their policies and practices related to LGBT patients and families. This year’s survey is now open and available for completion online. Wondering how you can help advocate for LGBT healthcare equality? Here are few steps you can take:

  • Share this blog post with any healthcare professionals you know. Ask them to check out The Joint Commission’s new field guide.
  • Do you know someone that works at one of your local hospitals? Make sure they know about the HEI: www.hrc.org/hei.
  • Do you work at a hospital? Request an invitation to complete the HEI on your facility’s behalf. Or forward this page to someone authorized to do so.
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