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VUMC again named a Leader in LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality

Mar. 28, 2022, 1:15 PM

 

by Doug Campbell

Once again, Vanderbilt University Medical Center has been named a Leader in LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality by the Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index (HEI).

VUMC received an evaluation of 100 in the 15th anniversary edition of the index, a national benchmarking survey of heath care facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees.

VUMC is the only organization in Tennessee to repeatedly be recognized for its commitment to adopting LGBTQ-inclusive patient, visitation and employment policies.

“For more than a decade now, VUMC leadership has prioritized the unique needs of sexual and gender minority patients and workforce to dismantle barriers of longitudinal bias and discrimination and lack of understanding of the LGBTQ community. That commitment is very well illustrated as Vanderbilt is the stand-alone organization in Tennessee scoring 100% on the HEI,” said Del Ray Zimmerman, director of VUMC’s Office for Diversity Affairs and the Vanderbilt Program for LGBTQ Health.

“While we celebrate this success, we know there’s much more work to be done. And I take great pride in carrying on with this work, knowing VUMC fully embraces our community and continues to invest resources that create a sustainable culture of belonging.”

The HEI evaluates and scores health care 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.

This year, a record 906 health care facilities across the nation participated in the 2022 HEI survey and 496 of those earned an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader designation with 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% 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.

“Every person deserves to have access to quality health care, 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 health care facilities, which leads to members of the community avoiding care and anticipating our voices will not be respected in an incredibly vulnerable environment,” said Tari Hanneman, director of Health & Aging at the Human Rights Campaign.

“The Healthcare Equality Index, at its core, strives to ensure LGBTQ+ people are protected and affirmed by their health care providers and feel safe seeking services. Our HEI participants are truly pioneering the health care industry by implementing robust, comprehensive LGBTQ+ inclusive policies that hopefully, because of their work, will become standard practice.”

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