Finding doctors or hospitals that are honest, respectful, and trustworthy is a tall order for the LGBT community especially. To provide assistance with that task, the Human Rights Campaign created a Healthcare Equality Index (HEI). Gathered from the results of its annual online survey given to healthcare providers across the nation, the 2013 edition was just released; for the first time, HEI received enough responses from hospitals around the nation to have data on select institutions in all fifty states.
HEI evaluates if participating organizations meet the “Core Four” criteria for serving the LGBT population most effectively and compassionately; the criteria are patient non-discrimination, equal visitation, employment non-discrimination, and training in LGBT patient-centered care. Those that meet all four are honored with the title of “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality.”
Altogether, 464 out of 718 participating healthcare facilities earned the title in 2013. One of those, Parkland Health & Hospital System, credited their success to their “comprehensive plan for the organization.” Parkland’s senior vice president of Community Oriented Primary Care & Employee Physician Office, Jessica Hernandez, told 429Magazine, “Parkland has served the Dallas community since 1894 and cared for every patient, regardless of their age, ethnicity or ability to pay. This designation further shows that we are inclusive to all. We are very proud to be recognized as a leader in LGBT equality.”
Organizations that take part in the survey, which is open to all healthcare practices with ten or more employees, are rated regarding not only the predictable issues, such as how they minimize potential risk factors and the aforementioned Core Four, but also HRC’s own values, such as the Additional Best Practices Checklist, a collection of 31 practices the HRC considers optimal in LGBT healthcare.
Taking the survey is free for healthcare providers; participants benefit from not only the additional exposure in the HEI report, but from being granted access to free training by experts in LGBT care for staff members at all levels. HRC describes the exchange as offering respondents “a wealth of new resources, inviting them to assess themselves against more than 40 expert recommendations for optimal LGBT care.”