As Pride Month kicks off, the Bayhealth team announced it has received the designation of LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Top Performer in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 15th anniversary edition of the Healthcare Equality Index.
The HEI is the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey of healthcare facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees. A record 906 healthcare facilities actively participated in the 2022 HEI survey, and 251 of those earned an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Top Performer designation.
“As a health system, Bayhealth continues to grow and evolve our emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion for all, including our LGBTQ+ patients and their care partners,” said Shana Ross, MSHR, MBA, Bayhealth chief diversity officer and vice president of human resources. “We continue to embrace and adopt LGBTQ+ inclusive policies and practices, and are aligning our efforts across our leadership and frontline caregivers, so that every LGBTQ+ patient feels welcome and properly cared for when in our hands. At Bayhealth, we take pride in caring for our LGBTQ+ community.”
“Every person deserves to have access to quality healthcare, be respected and heard by their doctor, and feel safe in the facility where they are receiving care. But LGBTQ+ people are often subject to discrimination in all spaces, including healthcare facilities, which leads to members of the community avoiding care and anticipating our voices will not be respected in an incredibly vulnerable environment,” said Tari Hanneman, director of health and aging at the Human Rights Campaign. “The Healthcare Equality Index, at its core, strives to ensure LGBTQ+ people are protected and affirmed by their healthcare providers, and feel safe seeking services. Our HEI active participants are truly pioneering the healthcare industry by implementing robust, comprehensive LGBTQ+ inclusive policies that hopefully, because of their work, will become standard practice.”
The HEI evaluates and scores healthcare facilities on detailed criteria falling under four central pillars: Foundational policies and training in LGBTQ+ patient-centered care, LGBTQ+ patient services and support, employee benefits and policies, and patient and community engagement.
In the 2022 report, an impressive 496 facilities earned HRC’s LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader designation, receiving the maximum score in each section and earning an overall score of 100. Another 251 facilities earned the Top Performer designation with scores from 80 to 95 points and at least partial credit in each section. With 82% 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 remarkable progress reflected in the 2020 HEI includes:
- 93% of participants met the HEI's training requirements, completing more than 200,000 hours of staff training in LGBTQ+ patient-centered care
- 82% of participating facilities earned either leader or top performer designation
- 99% of HEI participants documented that they include both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in both their patient and employment nondiscrimination policies
- 81% of HEI participants offer transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits to their employees, up from 75% in 2019, which was the first year it was required to receive leader status.
In addition to active survey participants, the HRC Foundation proactively researched the key policies for LGBTQ+ inclusion at more than 1,300 non-participating hospitals. Unfortunately, these research hospitals were much less likely to have LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination policies in place, which is a stark contrast to the near-perfect adoption by active participants. Among the hospitals in which researchers were able to find or obtain enumerated patient nondiscrimination policies, only 70% have policies that include both sexual orientation and gender identity compared to 99% of HEI participants.
To find support and a list of physicians who specialize in healthcare services for the LGBTQ+ community, go to Bayhealth.org/Patients/Connection/LGBTQ.