Majority of U.S. hospitals don't have a nondiscrimination policy for gays

Nearly two months ago, President Obama issued a memorandum mandating hospitals nationwide to update their visitation policies to include equal treatment for gays. Today, the statistics are out as far as how many hospitals currently comply with that presidential order, and the numbers aren't pretty. 

Roughly 93 percent of 178 healthcare facilities surveyed by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation--a civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality--were found to have no current nondiscrimination policy for LGBT patients. Only 11 individual facilities nationwide and one 36-hospital network--Kaiser Permanente--received perfect ratings on the Healthcare Equality Index. 

"Healthcare that is free of prejudice is a fundamental human value, and a fundamental American value," said Joe Solmonese, president of the HRC Foundation. "We urge all healthcare facilities to move toward greater inclusiveness, because sooner rather than later, that's where America is headed." 

While it doesn't boast a perfect rating like any of Kaiser Permanente's 36 hospitals, Jackson Memorial Hospital is among the most improved hospitals in the U.S., in terms of responding to gay patients and their families, according to the Miami Herald. Jackson, you'll recall, was the hospital at the center of the controversy involving Janice Langbehn and her late partner, Lisa Pond that prompted Obama's memorandum in the first place. 

"We already had [gay diversity training] in our new-employee orientation program. What we didn't have was an annual update," Ric Cuming, vice president and chief administrative officer at Jackson South Community Hospital said, when asked by the Herald why the hospital didn't rank even higher on the HEI. "We're putting together a curriculum that would be part of the annual mandatory training for all employees. Next year, it's our intention to get a perfect score." 

To learn more:
- read this Advocate.com piece
- here's the Healthcare Equality Index
- here's the HEI's accompanying press release
- check out Kaiser Permanente's press release
- read this Miami Herald article

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