As Health And Human Services Dep’t Defends Homophobia, LGBT-Inclusive Hospitals Are Leading The Way

The fight for equitable health care "has never been more urgent," says HRC in a new report.

HRC has just released its 2018 Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), spotlighting hospitals and healthcare facilities with inclusive and respectful policies and programs.

A record 626 medical centers participated in the report, with 418 earning a top score of 100, and receiving HRC’s “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” designation. The HRC Foundation investigated policies at an additional 900 hospitals across the nation that did not submit to the index.

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In addition to the perfect scores, another 95 hospitals earned a “Top Performer” designation for scoring from 80 to 95 points. “With 82% of participating facilities scoring 80 points or more, health care facilities are demonstrating concretely that they are going beyond the basics when it comes to adopting policies and practices in LGBTQ care.”

The report coincides with an unparalleled assault on the healthcare of LGBT Americans, including the Trump administration’s “conscience” regulation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which allows medical providers to deny service to LGBT people, women and other vulnerable groups on the basis of their religious beliefs. In addition, lawmakers in states like Michigan are working to pass legislation that would allow doctors, therapists and even EMTs the right to turn away LGBT patients.

“While the 2018 HEI shows a growing commitment across the nation to equitable and inclusive health care, it also illustrates work left to be done,” said the Health Equality Project’s Tari Hanneman. “And that work has never been more urgent, given the all-out assaults on the LGBTQ community from the highest levels of government.”

Of the hospitals that did not participate in the report, only 63% have patient non-discrimination policies that include both sexual orientation and gender identity, and only 53% had inclusive employment non-discrimination policies.

Other highlights:

* 59% increase in hospitals that have written gender transition guidelines;
* 42% increase in hospitals that offer trans-inclusive benefits;
* 21% increase in the number of participants that have transgender-specific policies;
* 63% increase in training hours recorded – clocking in at more than 70,000 hours of LGBTQ care training provided.

“At a time when health care and the rights of LGBTQ people are under attack by the Trump-Pence Administration and state legislatures across the country, hundreds of top healthcare facilities are driving progress toward equality,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “These top-scoring facilities are not only establishing policies that save LGBTQ lives every day, they have become vocal advocates for equality in the public square. This year, we are heartened to see corporate champions, including many healthcare systems, not just speaking out, but also doubling down on their commitment to equality.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery