TUSKEGEE, AL — The Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System or CAVHCS has received an evaluation of 90 out of 100 and the designation of “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Top Performer” in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 15th-anniversary edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI ).
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 earned an “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Top Performers” designation.
“This honor is attained by achieving a score of at least 80, in each of 4 categories, in the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation,” said CAVHCS Director Amir Farooqi. “This, once again, demonstrates how CAVCHS is committed to all of our Veterans.”
“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 & 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 performers” designation with scores between 80 to 95 points and at least partial credit in each section. With 82% of participating facilities scoring 80 points or more, health care 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 the Leader or Top Performer.
- 99% of HEI participants documented that they include both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in their patient nondiscrimination 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 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. 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 researched hospitals in which we 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.