Healthcare Equality Index

The Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) is the national LGBTQ benchmarking tool that evaluates healthcare facilities’ policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of their LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees. The HEI 2016 evaluates a total of 2,061 healthcare facilities nationwide.

Employee Benefits & Policies

The Employee Benefits and Policies criteria focuses on health insurance benefits, employee resources groups, LGBTQ-inclusive hiring efforts, transgender inclusive healthcare benefits, employee transition support, and more. In order to receive full credit (20 points) for this criteria, a facility must have implemented 9 or more of the best practices. A facility may receive partial credit (10 points) for this criteria if it has implemented 4 to 8 of the best practices. It is critical that LGBTQ employees, like LGBTQ patients, receive equal treatment, particularly through health-related benefits and policies. Scored benefits include:

Other “soft” benefits include parity between employees with spouses and those with domestic partners in the provision of the following scored benefits:

  • FMLA leave or equivalent for partners
  • Bereavement leave in the event of the death of a partner or partner’s dependents
  • Employer-provided supplemental life insurance for a partner
  • Discounts for employee’s spouse 

Benefits and policies that impact transgender employees are essential to providing fully inclusive LGBTQ-patient centered care. Scored practices include:

  • Providing at least one health plan to all employees that explicitly covers medically necessary health services for transgender people, including gender transition-related treatment
  • When the organization has written gender transition guidelines documenting supportive policies and practices on issues pertinent to a workplace gender transition
  • When the organization has trained and clearly designated at least one employee at an appropriate level of skill to serve as an adviser/advocate for transgender employees, particularly those transitioning on the job

Anonymous employee engagement or climate surveys allow employees the option to identify as LGBTQ:

  • Anonymous employee engagement or climate surveys include question(s) related to LGBTQ concerns
  • Commemorate an “LGBTQ Holiday” at the facility
  • Have explicitly LGBTQ-inclusive hiring efforts

For more information and best practice examples, please visit the Employee Benefits & Policies section in the HEI Resource Guide.