A review of 178 health facilities finds that relatively few institutions have adopted equal access practices toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, a situation that’s likely to change with President Obama’s April memorandum instructing the Department of Health and Human Services to develop regulations requiring all hospitals that receive federal Medicare and Medicaid funding to end discrimination in hospital visitation.
According to the report, released today by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, only a small number of major hospital chains are currently offering equal benefits to LGBT people:
The HEI 2010 rates 178 facilities on four measures of equality: patient nondiscrimination, visitation, cultural competency training and employment nondiscrimination.
Only a handful of facilities achieved credit for each of these measures. However, there were some important bright spots. We are pleased to recognize Kaiser Permanente Network as the HEI’s first top-performing network of hospitals.
This report also includes the review of a representative sample of 200 of the largest healthcare facilities nationwide, which found that 93 percent fail to protect all LGBT patients from discrimination by not including “gender identity” in their patient non-discrimination policies. More than 40 percent do not include “sexual orientation” in these policies.
While HHS is still drafting the rules and regulations to implement Obama’s memo, the Joint Commission (the organization which accredits hospitals nationwide) has announced new inclusive non-discrimination standards as part of their accreditation process and HRC has launched a campaign encouraging states to adopt the new regulation.
Still, even with the new guidelines, LGBT people won’t experience full equality within the health care system and many advocates believe the administration should have done more to address these concerns. For instance, the final version of the health care law omitted House-backed provisions that would have ended “the unfair taxation of employer-provided domestic partner health benefits,” designated “LGBT people as a health disparities population,” allowed “states to cover early HIV treatment under their Medicaid programs” and prohibited “consideration of personal characteristics unrelated to the provision of health care.” The administration never publicly encouraged the Senate to adopt these measures.