Friday, May 15, 2009

Healthcare Equality Index 2009

The annual Healthcare Equality Index has been released by the Human Rights Campaign in conjunction with the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association and shows the healthcare industry lags in addressing the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients.

Key findings:

Anti-Discrimination Policies. Less than seven percent of participating facilities protect patients from discrimination based on gender identity, while nearly three-quarters of participants provide these protections based on sexual orientation

Visitation Policies. The HEI survey has identified model visitation policies that are explicitly inclusive of the LGBT community. These model policies will set the standard for credit on these questions in the future.

Advance Healthcare Directives. All HEI-participating facilities have compliance policies requiring the honoring of legally-valid advance healthcare directives. Unfortunately, LGBT individuals come forward with tragic stories of hospitals failing to recognize these directives, reflecting a disconnect between the existence of written policies and the actual implementation of these policies on the part of all personnel. Future HEI surveys will focus on staff training related to advance healthcare directives as a means to eliminating this disconnect.

Cultural Competency Training. Seventy-two percent of participating facilities provide cultural competency training addressing sexual orientation and healthcare issues relevant to lesbian, gay and bisexual community. Seventy-one percent of participating facilities provide cultural competency training addressing gender identity and healthcare issues relevant to transgender community.

Employment Non-Discrimination Policies. Ninety-eight percent of the participating facilities bar employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, while only 63 percent of those policies include “gender identity or expression” or “gender identity.”

The full report can be viewed here.

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