, TX — The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston recently received the "LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Top Performer" designation in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 15th anniversary edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI).
“This designation proves that our team is committed to providing the best healthcare possible to every Veteran we see. Many of our LGBTQ+ Veterans have faced discrimination during their time in service and we want them to feel safe to seek care here, and to know they will be treated with respect and dignity in an affirming environment when they walk through our doors,” said Staff Psychologist Hiram Rivera-Mercado, LGBTQ+ Veteran Care Coordinator.
The HEI is the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey of healthcare facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees.
A record 906 healthcare facilities actively participated in the 2022 HEI survey and 251 of those earned a Top Performer designation.
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
- Patient and Community Engagement
A Top Performer designation requires scores between 80 to 95 points and at least partial credit in each section. With 82% of participants scoring 80 points or more, health care facilities are demonstrating a commitment to adopting improved policies and practices in LGBTQ+ care.
The remarkable progress reflected in the 2022 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 the Leader or Top Performer.
- 99% of HEI participants documented that they include both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in their patient non-discrimination policy.
- 99% of HEI participants documented that they include both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in their employment nondiscrimination policy.
- 81% of HEI participants offer transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits to their employees, up from 75% in 2019, which was the first year that 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 over 1,300 non-participating hospitals. Among the researched hospitals in which the HRC Foundation was able to find or obtain enumerated patient non-discrimination policies, only 70% had policies that include both sexual orientation and gender identity compared to 99% of HEI participants.