UCSF Medical Center received a perfect score in the 2009 LGBT Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) report, released Tuesday.
The HEI evaluates the nation’s health care facilities on their treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) patients and employees. UCSF also had received a perfect score in the 2008 HEI report, making it the only institution in the country to earn top ranking twice.
“We were delighted to learn that the UCSF Medical Center has once again met every criterion of the LGBT Healthcare Equality Index,” said Mark Laret, chief executive officer of UCSF Medical Center. “We take great pride in the fact that UCSF is a national leader in LGBT health care equality for patients and employees alike. LGBT equality is very important to us at UCSF.”
The HEI report, which rates 166 health care facilities nationwide, is a collaboration of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, the national organization for LGBT health professionals. Five US hospitals, none in the Bay Area, joined UCSF in receiving a perfect score in 2009.
“While many facilities are leading the way in fairness for LGBT patients and their families, on the whole, the health care industry is failing to adequately address the needs of our community,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “But tools like the HEI can turn this trend around. By helping to remove barriers and create truly welcoming health care environments, we can build a stronger, healthier community.”
The HEI rates hospitals in five categories: patient nondiscrimination, hospital visitation, medical decisionmaking, competence training and employment nondiscrimination.
“As its score indicates, UCSF Medical Center stands out in all of these areas,” said Shane Snowdon, director of UCSF’s LGBT Resource Center, who works closely with medical center staff. “In fact, UCSF goes well beyond the HEI criteria – the medical center is a national model for equitable treatment of LGBT patients and employees.”
To meet all the HEI criteria, facilities must have a policy forbidding discrimination on the basis of gender identity, which protects transgender individuals. Few facilities met this criterion in 2009, but UCSF has had such a policy in place since 2003. In addition, UC’s medical centers were the first health care facilities in the nation to provide transgender health coverage to employees. “This isn’t even one of the HEI criteria yet,” Snowdon noted.
UCSF is also the only health care institution in the nation with a dedicated LGBT unit – the LGBT Resource Center directed by Snowdon. The training it provides to medical center staff enabled UCSF to meet the HEI’s criterion for LGBT cultural competency education. “Medical center staff respond very enthusiastically to the training we offer,” Snowdon said. “They really care about the needs of LGBT patients and their families.”
The HEI was created in 2007 to benchmark and highlight best practices in health care facility policies for LGBT Americans. The release of the 2009 HEI report coincides with the annual observance of National Hospital Week.
2009 Healthcare Equality Index
Human Rights Campaign