TUSKEGEE, AL – The Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System or CAVHCS has received a rating of 90 out of 100 and the designation of “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Top Performer” in the 15th anniversary edition of the Healthcare Equality Index Health from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HEI).
HEI is the nation’s leading benchmark survey of healthcare facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees. A record number of 906 healthcare facilities actively participated in the HEI 2022 survey and 251 achieved a “Best Performer for LGBTQ+ Health Care Equality” designation.
“This honor is earned by achieving a score of at least 80, in each of 4 categories, in the Health Care Equality Index (HEI), administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation,” said the director of CAVHCS, Amir Farooqi. “This, once again, demonstrates how committed the CAVCHS is to all of our veterans.”
“Everyone deserves to have access to quality health care, to be respected and heard by their doctor, and to feel safe in the establishment where they are treated. But LGBTQ+ people are often the object of discrimination in all spaces, including health facilities, leading to community members avoiding care and anticipating that 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 Health Care Equality Index, at its core, works to ensure that LGBTQ+ people are protected and affirmed by their health care providers and feel safe seeking services. Our active participants from HEI are truly pioneering the healthcare industry in implementing robust and comprehensive LGBTQ+ inclusive policies which hopefully, because of their work, will become standard practice.”
The HEI evaluates and rates healthcare facilities according to detailed criteria falling under four central pillars:
- Core policies and training in LGBTQ+ patient-centered care;
- Services and support for LGBTQ+ patients;
- employee benefits and policies; and,
- Patient and community engagement.
In the 2022 report, an impressive 496 installations got the award”Head of LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality” designation, receiving the maximum score in each section and achieving an overall score of 100. 251 other facilities achieved the “Most Performing Player» with scores between 80 and 95 points and at least partial credit in each section. With 82% of participating facilities scoring 80 points or more, healthcare facilities are demonstrating that they are going above and beyond when it comes to adopting LGBTQ+ care policies and practices.
The remarkable progress reflected in the HEI 2020 includes:
- 93% of participants met HEI training requirements, completing more than 200,000 hours staff training in LGBTQ+ patient-centered care.
- 82% of participating facilities have achieved the Leader or Top Performer award.
- 99% of HEI participants indicated that they include both ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ in their policy of non-discrimination towards patients.
- 99% of HEI participants indicated that they include both ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ in their non-discrimination employment policy.
- 81% of HEI participants offer transgender-inclusive health benefits to their employees, compared to 75% in 2019, which was the first year required to achieve Leader status.
In addition to active survey participants, the HRC Foundation proactively researched key LGBTQ+ inclusion policies at over 1,300 non-participating hospitals. Unfortunately, these research hospitals were much less likely to have LGBTQ+ non-discrimination policies in place, in stark contrast to near-perfect uptake by active participants. Of the hospitals surveyed where we were able to find or obtain patient non-discrimination policies listed, only 70% have policies that include both sexual orientation and gender identity, compared to 99% of participants in the EES.