PCHC has been recognized for the seventh year in a row as a “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization. The honor is given to facilities that meet LGBT-inclusive benchmarks that are part of the HRC Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index, a unique survey that encourages equal care for LGBT Americans by evaluating inclusive policies and practices related to LGBT patients, visitors and employees. PCHC was the only facility in Maine to earn the “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” distinction.
Penobscot Community Health Care earned top marks in meeting non-discrimination and training criteria that demonstrate its commitment to equitable, inclusive care for LGBT patients, and their families, who can face significant challenges in securing the quality health care and respect they deserve.
Kenneth Schmidt, MPA, President and CEO states, “This is a great recognition for PCHC and all our employees and a marker that at PCHC we strive for respect and inclusivity for all. We are proud of our continuing work on this important initiative.”
“The 2017 HEI reminds us again that though we have made tremendous gains over the past decade, there is still much more work left for us to do. With some of our biggest battles still ahead of us, it is crucial that institutions continue to demonstrate that the march toward full equality is not slowing down,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The 590 participants in this year’s HEI continue this march in partnership with the LGBTQ community. For the past decade, the HEI has been the roadmap to closing the gap in ensuring equal care to LGBTQ patients and their families, and we urge every healthcare facility to join us in this continuing effort to provide inclusive care to all.”
The 10th edition of the HEI implements new criteria that raise the bar on what it takes to earn HRC’s “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” designation. For the first time ever, HEI participants are given scores in four criteria that represent how many policies and best practices from each section they have implemented: foundational elements of LGBTQ patient-centered care, LGBTQ Patient Services and Support, Employee Benefits and Policies, and LGBTQ Patient and Community Engagement. Participants that receive the maximum score in each section for a total score of 100 points earn the coveted status of “2017 Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality.”
In the 2017 report, an impressive 302 facilities — 51 percent of those actively participating in the survey — met the more challenging criteria to earn this designation. Another 145 facilities earned the “Top Performer” designation for scoring from 80 to 95 points. With 76 percent of actively-participating facilities scoring 80 points or more, it is clear that healthcare facilities are going beyond the basics in adopting policies and practices in LGBTQ care.