Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) recently received an evaluation of 100 and the designation of LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 15th anniversary edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey of healthcare facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees. A record 906 healthcare facilities actively participated in the 2022 HEI survey and 496 of those earned an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leaderdesignation.
“The Leader designation demonstrates CHA’s commitment to providing excellent care for members of the LGBTQ+ communities,” said CHA Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Michael James. “CHA’s long history of caring for marginalized groups provides a framework for creating a welcoming, safe and respectful environment. It’s an honor to receive the Leader designation from HEI acknowledging the work we’re doing to ensure LGBTQ+ patients get the care they deserve.”
“Every person deserves to have access to quality healthcare, be respected and heard by their doctor, and feel safe in the facility where they are receiving care. But LGBTQ+ people are often subject to discrimination in all spaces, including healthcare facilities, which leads to members of the community avoiding care and anticipating our voices will not be respected in an incredibly vulnerable environment,” said the Human Rights Campaign’s Health and Aging Program Director, Tari Hanneman. “The Healthcare Equality Index, at its core, strives to ensure LGBTQ+ people are protected and affirmed by their healthcare providers and feel safe seeking services. Our HEI active participants are truly pioneering the healthcare industry by implementing robust, comprehensive LGBTQ+ inclusive policies that hopefully, because of their work, will become standard practice.”
HEI evaluates and scores healthcare facilities on detailed criteria falling under four central pillars:
- Foundational Policies and Training in LGBTQ+ Patient-Centered Care
- LGBTQ+ Patient Services and Support
- Employee Benefits and Policies
- Patient and Community Engagement
Some of CHA’s recent advances in LGBTQ+ services include expanding benefits coverage for employees if they choose to transition, a new Gender Affirming Care Clinic and pronoun badges for all employees. CHA features an LGBTQ+ Living Well section for patients to use as a resource and information about services available at CHA.
In the 2022 report, an impressive 496 facilities earned HRC’s LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader designation,receiving the maximum score in each section and earning an overall score of 100. Another 251 facilities earned the Top Performer designation with scores between 80 and 95 points and at least partial credit in each section. With 82 percent of participating facilities scoring 80 points or more, health care facilities are demonstrating concretely that they are going beyond the basics when it comes to adopting policies and practices in LGBTQ+ care.