BANGOR – Penobscot Community Health Care (PCHC), the largest Federally Qualified Health Center in Maine, has been recognized again as a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality. The distinction came from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s (HRCFoundation) Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), which scores health care facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees. This is the tenth year PCHC has participated in the survey, for which they have earned a perfect score every year.
“PCHC is a resource to all people in this region, not just as a health care provider, but also as an employer,” said Lori Dwyer, President and CEO of PCHC. “For our employees and patients, we are here for you. Period. And we practice what we preach every day. This distinction is important, and it is one we are proud to receive. But we hope that we can use it to emphasize that PCHC’s doors are open to all in the communities we serve.”
The 12th annual Healthcare Equality Index assessed participants in four areas: Non-Discrimination and Staff Training, Patient Services and Support, Employee Benefits and Policies, and Patient and Community Engagement. In order to earn the distinction of Leader in LGBTQ Health Care Equality, participants must earn the top score of 100 points. While 406 of the 680 participating health care facilities earned the top score, PCHC was the only one to do so in Maine. This is the ninth year that PCHC has earned the distinction of being a Leader in LGBTQ Health Care Equality. The first year PCHC participated and received a perfect score was in 2010 when the distinction was called a Top Performer.
According to HRC, the progress reflected in the 2019 HEI includes:
- Over half of HEI participants now have written gender transition guidelines;
- 75% of hospitals surveyed offer trans-inclusive benefits — an eight percentage point increase over last year, and numbers that bring them on par with their corporate counterparts, as measured by HRC’s 2019 CEI;
- A 35% increase in training hours recorded — clocking in at more than 94,000 hours of LGBTQ care training provided;
- A 60% increase in the number of HEI participants whose electronic health records capture a patient’s sexual orientation, and a 40% increase in the number of HEI participants whose electronic health records capture a patient’s gender identity.
Officials say that the HRCFoundation proactively researched key policies at 1,000 non-participating hospitals across the nation as well.
The full report can be downloaded at http://www.hrc.org/hei.
About Penobscot Community Health Care
Penobscot Community Health Care (PCHC) is a non-profit, Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) founded in 1997 to ensure access to comprehensive, integrated primary health care services for all to improve the health and wellbeing of patients and the Maine communities served. Sixteen practices and program service sites in the Bangor area, and in Belfast and Jackman, offer a wide range of services including family medicine, dental, pediatrics, geriatrics, mental health and substance abuse, specialty services, pharmacy and healthcare for the homeless. Online at www.pchc.com.
About the Human Rights Campaign Foundation
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is education arm of America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.