BIDMC Cited as LGBT Health Leader
For the second year in a row Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has been named a Leader in the LGBT Healthcare Equality Index report, a survey published by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for LGBT Americans.
The Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) is "designed to allow US healthcare facilities assess the degree to which they provide LGBT patient-centered care, to identify and remedy any gaps and make public their commitment to LGBT patients and their families," said HRC Foundation President, Chad Griffin.
To be identified as an HEI Leader, institutions provided evidence of explicitly inclusive policies that protect LGBT patients and employees from discrimination and ensure equal visitation access for same-sex couples and same-sex parents. New this year, in light of the fact that implementation of these polices relies heavily on staff education, the HRC added a training requirement. Leader institutions enrolled at least one high-level manager each from facilities, nursing, patient relations, admitting and human resources for at least 60 minutes of expert training.
This year 407 institutions were rated representing a 40 percent increase in participation over 2011.
"We're proud to be recognized as a Leader in the HRC's LGBT Healthcare Equality Index. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and its founding hospitals have always been committed to providing equal care to every patient we treat," said Marsha Maurer, RN, interim chief operating officer. "I give credit to our internal champions who made sure BIDMC put strong policies in place and then provided training to make sure they were carried out."
BIDMC was the first hospital in the nation to adopt a "Patient Bill of Rights," which promises the right to receive care regardless of race, religion, national origin, any disability or handicap, gender, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, or the source of payment.
"The struggle for, and achievement of equal rights for diverse groups has always been at the core of who we are," said President and CEO, Kevin Tabb, MD. "Not only were we the first to offer a patient bill of rights, we were the first healthcare organization in Boston to have an LGBT group over 20 years ago and we were the first in city to offer domestic partner benefits."
In another first, BIDMC and Fenway Health received a 2010 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to create a primary care residency focused on preparing physicians for careers in HIV and LGBT health. The program is first of its kind in the United States and welcomed its first four interns this past year.
The HEI report details "much greater attention being given to the healthcare needs of LGBT Americans," wrote Griffin. But there is still much room for improvement. A 2010 Lambda Legal study reported that 29 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual respondents believed that they would be treated differently because of their sexual orientation and 9 percent believed that they would actually be denied medical services because they are LGBT.