Most hospitals performed well on LGBTQ+ equity, Human Rights Campaign report finds

Most participating healthcare facilities performed well on the annual Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) survey put out by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation.

In the 15th edition of the HEI, which measured 2,200 healthcare facilities on equitable treatment of LGBTQ+ patients, 496 facilities earned a leader distinction and 251 earned a top performer distinction. 

“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 and aging at The Human Rights Campaign, in a press release. “The Healthcare Equality Index, at its core, strives to ensure LGBTQ+ people are protected and affirmed by their healthcare providers and feel safe seeking services.”

The HRC Foundation measured several criteria to determine scores, including foundational policies and training, LGBTQ+ patient services and support, employee benefits and policies and patient and community engagement. Those designated equality leaders received the maximum score in each section, earning an overall score of 100.

Those with the top performer designation received scores between 80 and 95 points and at least partial credit in each section. In total, 82% of participating facilities scored 80 points or above. 

Two Dallas hospitals, meanwhile, received the maximum penalty in their scores for no longer providing gender-affirming care to trans youth amid Gov. Greg Abbott’s nonbinding opinion. Also taking into account “the hospitals’ unwillingness to answer questions about their decision, the HRC Foundation has applied a rarely used 25 point deduction as part of the HEI’s ‘Responsible Citizenship’ criteria,” the organization said in a press release. Of 22 facilities participating in the survey in Texas, one hospital and three clinics received the leader designation. 

The survey further found that 93% of participants met the healthcare equality index training requirements, completing more than 200,000 hours of staff training in LGBTQ+ patient-centered care. Nearly all participants said they include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in their employment nondiscrimination policy, and about 8 in 10 offer trans-inclusive healthcare benefits to their employees. 

The HRC Foundation separately researched policies at 1,300 additional hospitals not participating in the survey. In total, 70% were found to have explicit employment nondiscrimination policies in place, compared to 99% of survey participants.