Latest Healthcare Equality Index reveals increasing support of LGBTQ healthcare

Aug. 21, 2019
Seventy-five percent of hospitals surveyed offer trans-inclusive benefits.

The HRC Foundation released its 12th annual Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), which scores healthcare facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees.

In the 2019 report, 406 facilities earned HRC’s “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader” designation, receiving the maximum score in each section and earning an overall score of 100. Another 148 facilities earned the “Top Performer” designation for scoring from 80 to 95 points. With 81 percent of participating facilities scoring 80 points or more, healthcare facilities are demonstrating concretely that they are going beyond the basics when it comes to adopting policies and practices in LGBTQ care.

The 12th edition of the HEI assesses participants on four criteria:

·  Non-Discrimination and Staff Training

·  Patient Services and Support

·  Employee Benefits and Policies

·  Patient and Community Engagement

The release of the 2019 HEI comes as the comment period closes on a regulation proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that would strip away explicit healthcare protections on the basis of gender identity, effectively targeting transgender and gender non-conforming people’s access to critical care – protections  that were added under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and the first time sex was covered as a protected characteristic in healthcare.

The progress reflected in the 2019 HEI includes:

· Over half of HEI participants now have written gender transition guidelines.

· 75 percent of hospitals surveyed offer trans-inclusive benefits – an eight-percentage point increase over last year, and numbers that bring them on par with their corporate. counterparts, as measured by HRC’s 2019 CEI.

· A 35 percent increase in training hours recorded -- clocking in at more than 94,000 hours of LGBTQ care training provided.

· A 60 percent increase in the number of HEI participants whose electronic health records capture a patient's sexual orientation, and a 40 percent increase in the number of HEI participants whose electronic health records capture a patient's gender identity.

· Of the 1,000 hospitals that didn’t actively participate in the HEI but were included based on HRC Foundation research, only 67 percent have patient non-discrimination policies that include both sexual orientation and gender identity, and only 62 percent were found to have an LGBTQ-inclusive employment non-discrimination policy.

· The equal visitation policy, in place at 90 percent of facilities that didn’t actively participate, is the only aspect in which this group comes close to matching the rate of the participating facilities.

 "The healthcare facilities that participate in HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index are making clear that they stand on the side of fairness and are committed to providing inclusive care to their LGBTQ patients,” HRC President Alphonso David in a statement. “Going beyond inclusive non-discrimination policies, these healthcare facilities are adopting best practices in the areas of LGBTQ patient care and support, employee policies and benefits, and LGBTQ patient and community engagement.”

David also launched the HEI in Columbus, OH, as part of his #WeAreHRC cross-country tour, highlight his priorities for the coming years, including passing the Equality Act, stopping the disturbing trend of anti-trans violence, expanding access to inclusive healthcare, ending the HIV and AIDS epidemic and electing pro-equality candidates up and down the ballot