Fair Visitation and Jackson Health System joint statement

April 12, 2010--Officials from Jackson Health System (JHS) and a coalition of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organizations and individual community activists are pleased to announce a successful completion to a collaborative effort to make JHS hospital policies more inclusive of the needs of the LGBT community.

The announcement follows a year-long process to review and enhance policies and training materials for all JHS hospitals and facilities to ensure that they reflect emerging standards of care for LGBT patients. This process was initiated after a meeting held on May 29, 2009, between JHS leadership and representatives of the coalition of LGBT organizations. As part of that meeting, JHS agreed to convene a task force of health system officials and employees to review and revise its policies internally.

Once draft revisions of those policies were prepared, the updated policies were distributed to organizations participating in the effort for input and suggestions. After a review led by the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, the LGBT organizations involved in the effort were able to confirm that the policies had satisfied the requests made to JHS in 2009.

In addition, Jackson Health System took part in the 2009 Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) survey project, a joint project of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association and Human Rights Campaign Foundation, which rates healthcare facilities on their policies and practices related to the LGBT community. The HEI focuses on five main policy criteria: patient non-discrimination, visitation, decision making, cultural competency training, and employment policies and benefits. By participating in the survey, it is the goal of Jackson Health System to demonstrate its long-standing commitment to equality for LGBT patient care. Information from the 2009 HEI survey will be released in May 2010.

JHS leadership and officials from the LGBT organizations involved in the effort were very pleased to be able to work together to advance LGBT sensitivity and inclusivity in JHS policies. All parties involved agreed that providing equal treatment and care for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, or other aspects of personal identity, is of paramount importance in healthcare settings. It creates an environment in which all patients feel safe and comfortable receiving treatment, which results in a higher quality of patient care.

On April 9, 2010, officials from JHS and representatives from the coalition of LGBT organizations met to discuss the new policies that have been adopted, as well as additional collaborative activities that could further address the healthcare needs of the LGBT community in South Florida.

The Fair Visitation Committee is made up of the following community groups:
Alliance for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth, CenterLink, Comprehensive Money Management Services, LLC Equality Florida, Florida Together, Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, Lambda Legal, Miami Workers' Center, Out with Cancer, Pride Center at Equality Park, SAVE Dade, Transgender Equality Rights Initiative

About SAVE Dade
Safeguarding American Values for Everyone's (SAVE) mission is to promote, protect and defend equality for people in Miami-Dade County who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. Established in 1993, SAVEaccomplishes this mission through education initiatives, outreach, grassroots organizing, and advocacy. Starting with the landmark passage of Miami's Human Rights Ordinance in 1998 to recent enactments of domestic partner benefit policies, SAVEcontinues to lead the fight for LGBT equality in Miami-Dade County.