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ECMC earns 'LGBTQ Health Care Equality Top Performer' designation


Mon, Sep 14th 2020 11:40 am

Part of Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index

Nationwide, in addition to 495 ‘LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leaders,’ 193 health care providers earned ‘Top Performer’ designation in the Healthcare Equality Index

Erie County Medical Center Corp. announced its “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Top Performer” designation from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC). The designation was awarded in the 13th edition of HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI). A record 765 health care facilities actively participated in the HEI 2020 survey. Of those included in the HEI, 193 earned an “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Top Performer” designation.

Cynthia Bass, MBA, CDM, director of diversity and inclusion at ECMC, said, “We are extremely pleased to have achieved this designation as an ‘LGBTQ Health Care Equality Top Performer.’ Our goal advanced by our executive leadership team and supported throughout our entire organization is to lead the way in human rights and this recognition is a testament to our commitment in this regard. I would also like to express special thanks to my co-members of our HEI advisory council: Nadine Mund, Natalie Sleap, Sarah Clark, Luis Rodriguez and Heather Leising.”

HRC President Alphonso David said, “From the previously unimaginable impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the horrific incidents of racial violence targeting the Black community, the events of the past year have brought about so much pain and uncertainty. Yet, even during this moment of profound unrest, we are seeing more of our humanity and resilience come to life. For me, nowhere is that more true than through the tireless dedication of our health care providers and the intrepid support and administrative staff members by their sides that show up every day to ensure this life-saving work continues. The health care facilities participating in the HRC Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) are not only on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are also making it clear from their participation in the HEI that they stand on the side of fairness and are committed to providing inclusive care to their LGBTQ patients. In addition, many have made strong statements on racial justice and equity and are engaging in efforts to address racial inequities in their institutions and their communities. We commend all of the HEI participants for their commitment to providing inclusive care for all.”

Every year, HRC recognizes the health care facilities that participate in the HEI for their dedication and commitment to LGBTQ inclusion. HRC also extends its deepest gratitude to these facilities for their “courageous fight against COVID-19 and their commitment to addressing racism and injustice.”

As the final HEI surveys were submitted in March, health care facilities were kicking into overdrive to meet the challenges of COVID-19. Many faced a lack of equipment, staffing shortages and surging demand. Two months later, as the fight against COVID-19 continued, the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police officers thrust America’s structural racism into the spotlight. HEI participants issued strong statements on racial justice and equity, participated in “White Coats for Black Lives” demonstrations and announced new programs to address racial inequities in their institutions and their communities.

In the 2020 report, 495 facilities earned HRC’s “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader” designation, receiving the maximum score in each section and earning an overall score of 100. Another 193 facilities earned the “Top Performer” designation for scoring from 80 to 95 points. With 90% of participating facilities scoring 80 points or more, health care facilities demonstrated they are going beyond the basics when it comes to adopting policies and practices in LGBTQ care.

The progress reflected in the 2020 HEI includes:

√ 92% of participants met the HEI's training requirements, completing more than 150,000 hours of staff training in LGBTQ patient-centered care.

√ 99% of HEI participants documented they include both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in their patient non-discrimination policy.

√ 99% of HEI participants documented they include both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in their employment nondiscrimination policy.

√ 53% of HEI participants indicated their facility has a policy or policies that specifically outline procedures and practices aimed at eliminating bias and insensitivity, and ensuring appropriate, welcoming interactions with transgender patients.

After many years of trailing their corporate counterparts in the provision of transgender-inclusive health care benefits for employees, HEI participating healthcare facilities are nearly on par with the HRC Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) participants, as 80% have at least one health care plan that offered this benefit. The latest CEI noted 85% of participants having such benefits.

A press release said, “In addition to active survey participants, the HRC Foundation proactively researched the key policies at over 1,000 nonparticipating hospitals. Unfortunately, the adoption rate at these researched hospitals stands in stark contrast to the near-perfect adoption by active participants. Among the researched hospitals in which we were able to find or obtain enumerated patient nondiscrimination policies, only 67% have policies that include both ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity,’ and only 63% were found to have an LGBTQ-inclusive employment nondiscrimination policy. The equal visitation policy, at 93%, is the only one that comes close to matching the rate of the participating facilities.”

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