All Baptist Health hospitals, including Wolfson Children's Hospital, have received the top designation of "LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader" in the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation's 15th anniversary edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI). The HEI 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. This is the second time Baptist Health received the top ranking, demonstrating the health system's continued commitment to fostering an environment that prioritizes inclusion for team members, patients and families.
"Achieving health care equity for all members of our community is a continuous journey," said Michael A. Mayo, DHA, FACHE, president and CEO of Baptist Health. "I am proud our team members are being recognized for the work they are doing and what they have achieved thus far. We will continue working together to ensure LGBTQ+ people are protected and respected by their health care providers, and feel safe when they come to any Baptist Health facility for care, to visit a loved one or to work on the teams who provide that care."
In the past year, Baptist Health has implemented new policies and practices to support an inclusive environment. These changes include, but are not limited to:
Enhanced ability to collect sexual orientation and gender identity in medical records.
Published LGBTQ+ educational articles in Juice, Baptist Health's health care news website. Articles focused on using preferred pronouns, supporting a child's coming out, gender fluidity and the impact of the pandemic on LGBTQ+ youth mental health.
Hosted PrEP community education webinars (HIV prevention).
Publicly supported the Equality Act.
Added an option to the patient satisfaction survey to report sexual orientation with other demographic information.
Added LGBTQ+ specific questions to the system-wide employee engagement survey.
The HRC Foundation is the education arm of America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people. 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; and,
- Patient and Community Engagement.
HRC's "LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader" is designated to hospitals that receive the maximum score in all four categories, earning an overall score of 100. Eleven hospitals were recognized in Florida, five of which are Baptist Health facilities. Wolfson Children's Hospital is the only children's hospital to be recognized in the state.
"LGBTQ+ people are often subject to discrimination in all spaces, including healthcare facilities, which leads to members of the community avoiding care," 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 active 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."
Learn more about LGBT+ Care and Resources at Baptist Health.