The Human Rights Campaign released its 2012 Healthcare Equality Index today in an event at DC’s Howard University Hospital. Dr. Wayne Frederick, the hospital’s deputy senior vice president for health sciences, and HRC president Chad Griffin hosted the event, which included remarks from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Griffin and Shane Snowdon, the director of HRC’s new LGBT Health and Aging Program, described how the annual Healthcare Equality Index rates hospitals and other healthcare facilities across the country on the quality of care they provide to LGBT people and their families. This year’s report surveys over 400 facilities in 32 states and the District of Columbia across four areas of care:
- LGBT-inclusive patient nondiscrimination policies
- Visitation policies that provide equal access for same-sex partners and their children
- LGBT-inclusive employment nondiscrimination policies
- Training in LGBT patient-centered care
Facilities that meet all of these “Core Four” criteria for equitable and inclusive care are designated “Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality.” Of this year’s 407 rated facilities, more than half received Leader status, including Howard University Hospital, which is HBCU-affiliated.
New to this year’s report is the emphasis on training. So far in 2012, HRC has provided training in LGBT patient care to over 1,000 hospital staff, including health care providers and senior administrators. Such training is a crucial part of knocking down barriers to care for LGBT people, since recent studies have indicated that the majority of medical schools do not sufficiently train their students in providing culturally and clinically competent care for LGBT patients.
Snowdon also emphasized the importance of ongoing LGBT cultural competency training in heath care facilities in the 18 states not represented in this year’s report. Many of these states have no legal protections for LGBT people and their families, making staff and provider training a crucial part of ensuring that LGBT patients receive the respectful and high-quality care they need.