Seven CT healthcare facilities recognized for LGBTQ efforts

Seven Connecticut hospitals and medical groups have received high marks for their policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees in the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation’s annual Healthcare Equality Index (HEI).

Bristol Hospital, Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut in Norwalk and VA Connecticut Health Care System in West Haven earned HRC’s "LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader" designation given to facilities receiving a score of 100 points on criteria that include: LGBTQ patient-centered care, patient services and support, employee benefits and policies, and patient and community engagement.

Earning "Top Performer" designation for scoring from 80 to 95 points were Yale New Haven Health System’s Bridgeport, Greenwich and Yale New Haven hospitals. Each scored 95 points.

A record 626 healthcare facilities actively participated in this year’s survey, committing to LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices, HRC said. Of facilities surveyed, 418 earned a top score of 100 and another 95 earned the "Top Performer" designation. In addition, the HRC Foundation researched key policies at more than 900 non-participating hospitals across the nation. Progress reflected in the 2018 HEI include:

-59 percent increase in hospitals that have written gender transition guidelines;

-42 percent increase in hospitals that offer trans-inclusive benefits;

-21 percent increase in the number of participants that have transgender-specific policies;

-63 percent increase in training hours recorded – clocking in at more than 70,000 hours of LGBTQ care training provided.

Of the hospitals that did not actively participate in the HEI, but were included based on HRC Foundation research, only 63 percent have patient non-discrimination policies that include both sexual orientation and gender identity, and only 53 percent were found to have an LGBTQ-inclusive employment non-discrimination policy, HRC said. The equal visitation policy, at 93 percent, is the only one that comes close to matching the rate of the participating facilities, it said.

"While the 2018 HEI shows a growing commitment across the nation to equitable and inclusive health care, it also illustrates work left to be done," said Tari Hanneman, director of the HRC Foundation’s Health Equality Project, and author of the HEI. "And that work has never been more urgent, given the all-out assaults on the LGBTQ community from the highest levels of government."

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