PCHC Named a Healthcare Equality Leader

The health center is one of 496 healthcare providers nationwide earning the coveted “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation

BANGOR, Maine—For the 12th year in a row, Penobscot Community Health Care has been designated a healthcare equality leader by the Human Rights Campaign.  The largest federally qualified health center in the state, PCHC received an evaluation of 100 and the designation of “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” in the 15th anniversary edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI). The index is 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 the leadership designation.

“This recognition is a testament to how PCHC lives its values—we are inclusive, affirming, and provide outstanding patient care,” said Megan Sanders, Esq., chief counsel and chief human resources officer. “We care for the whole person, the whole family, and the whole community. We continue to be humbled to earn this distinction from the Human Rights Campaign and look forward to continuing to partner with our LGBTQ+ patients, guests, and members to meet every health-related need.

The 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.

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% 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 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 Tari Hanneman, Director of Health & Aging at The Human Rights Campaign.