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Washington DC VA Medical Center Earns Top Performer Status in Human Rights Campaign Foundation's 2022 Healthcare Equality Index


March 31, 2022

Washington , DC — The Washington DC VA Medical Center received the "LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Top Performer" designation in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 15th anniversary edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI).

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. Washington DC VA Medical Center Director, Michael Heimall said this title is a direct reflection of his staff’s dedication to equal treatment of all Veterans.

“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 when they walk through our doors,” Heimall said.

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 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 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.

“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,” said Tari Hanneman, Director of Health and Aging at the Human Rights Campaign.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to make transformational change in the everyday lives of LGBTQ+ people, shedding light on inequity and deepening the public’s understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, with a clear focus on advancing transgender and racial justice. Its work has transformed the landscape for more than 15 million workers, 11 million students, 1 million clients in the adoption and foster care system and so much more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, driving the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through fellowship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, it forges partnerships with advocates in the U.S. and around the globe to increase our impact and shape the future of our work.

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