For the seventh year in a row, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation has named UC Davis Medical Center a “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality.”
The foundation is the nation’s largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) Americans. Each year it produces the Healthcare Equality Index, a national benchmarking tool that evaluates health-care facilities’ policies and practices on equity and inclusion of LGBT patients, visitors and employees. The index is used by LGBTQ patients and their loved ones to find facilities with a welcoming and inclusive environment.
The medical center earned the designation by achieving a perfect score of 100 on the foundation’s core criteria for leadership excellence. These measures include having non-discrimination policies for patients and employees, equal visitation for same-sex partners and parents, cultural competency training on LGBT patient-centered care and a demonstrated public commitment to the LGBTQ community.
“We’re honored to be nationally recognized for our longstanding commitment to a welcoming and inclusive environment for our patients, their families and our employees,” said Ann Madden Rice, chief executive officer of the medical center. “Equity and inclusion are among our top priorities, and we are dedicated to leading efforts to eliminate health disparities.”
LGBT patients and their families often face challenges in obtaining adequate health care across the lifespan. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, LGBT people are at a higher risk for cancer, mental illnesses and other diseases than their heterosexual counterparts. Many factors can increase these health risks, from the lack of awareness and sensitivity of their unique health needs to unequal rights and protections under the law.
The 2011 Institute of Medicine’s report on The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding called for health care professionals nationwide to gather data and conduct studies to improve health outcomes for the LGBT population.
UC Davis Health recently hosted the third annual Improving Outcomes conference, which brought together emerging leaders and established experts in health care from around the state to share innovative ideas, teach critical leadership skills and form new networks to advance LGBTQ issues and health care.
The Healthcare Equality Index is open to all health-care organizations in the U.S. with 100 or more employees. UC Davis is one of 302 facilities nationwide and 77 in California to receive the leadership designation. Another 145 facilities earned the Top Performer designation with a score from 80 to 95 points.