The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) organization, has named UC Davis Medical Center a “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” in its 2018 Healthcare Equality Index report.
This is the eighth year in a row that the medical center has been recognized for its role in advancing LGBT equity in the clinical care environment.
The Healthcare Equality Index is the foundation’s national benchmarking tool that evaluates health care facilities’ policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of their LGBT patients, visitors and employees. According to the foundation, a record 626 health care facilities around the country participated in the 2018 edition of the index.
The medical center earned the designation by again achieving a perfect score of 100 on the foundation’s core criteria for leadership excellence. These measures include having non-discrimination policies for patients and employees, equal visitation for same-sex partners and parents, cultural competency training on LGBTQ patient-centered care and a demonstrated public commitment to the LGBTQ community.
“We are very proud of our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for patients, their families and our employees,” said Ann Madden Rice, chief executive officer of UC Davis Medical Center. “We view equity and inclusion as key factors in enabling our clinical teams to provide the best in care for all patients.”
The medical center has long been committed to providing equitable and inclusive care for LGBTQ patients and their families, who historically have faced significant challenges in obtaining adequate health care. For years, UC Davis has been a leader in establishing and maintaining a workplace and care environment that does not discriminate because of an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
UC Davis became the first academic health system in the country to include sexual orientation and gender identity as standardized demographic information within its electronic health records system. Patients are encouraged to voluntarily share sexual orientation and gender identity information because it represents an important step toward improving health care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer and questioning individuals.
An Institute of Medicine (now known as the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine) report in 2011 suggested that researchers needed to proactively engage lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in health studies and collect data on these populations to identify and better understand the health disparities that specifically affect them.
Historically, for example, many LGBTQ patients avoided clinical visits because they either experienced or feared the bias of their medical providers, or because they worried about being humiliated or rejected. Health disparities for these populations have included an elevated risk for attempted suicide and depression, and potentially higher rates of substance use among LGBTQ youth. In addition, one of the barriers to accessing quality health care for LGBTQ adults has been the lack of providers who are knowledgeable about LGBT health needs and comfortable in providing care.
In addition to its pioneering electronic health record information categories for LGBTQ individuals, patients can search online for UC Davis Medical Group physicians who self-identify, based on expertise and comfort level, as “LGBT welcoming.”
For more information, visit www.hrc.org/hei