This is the ninth consecutive year that the educational arm of nation’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people has recognized the medical center for advancing LGBTQ equity among its patients and employees.
The foundation’s index will be released on Aug. 16. It is the organization’s benchmarking tool for evaluating hospitals regarding their LGBT equality for patients, visitors and employees. Last year, more than 600 health care facilities around the country participated in the index.
“This designation recognizes the work of our healthcare team's long-held commitment to delivering patient care that honors each person as an individual. The award also highlights our ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusivity as an employer.” said David Lubarsky, CEO of UC Davis Health. “Equity and inclusion for both patients and employees are keys to our goal of providing truly compassionate, high quality care for everyone.”
The medical center again earned a top score of 100 points by fully achieving the foundation’s criteria for excellence. Hospitals receive points for meeting specific requirements and having a certain number of best practices and policies in place. Non-discrimination policies, staff training, patient care services and support, as well as employee benefits and community engagement, are all part of the survey process.
This year’s index also includes a new, higher benchmark. It requires employers to offer their employees at least one health insurance plan that includes transgender-inclusive coverage.
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.
In 2013, UC Davis became the first academic health system in the nation to include sexual orientation and gender identity as standardized demographic information within its electronic health record system. Patients are encouraged to share that information because it helps clinicians provide better, more informed care for LGBTQ individuals.
Over the past year, UC Davis Health has enhanced its LGBTQ-focused employee policies and benefits. It also worked to create comprehensive services for patients, particularly transgender individuals.
For example, an advisory committee is developing a resource guide for both trans patients and providers. And transgender care is now benefitting from better coordination among the different medical specialties.
In addition, the health system established its first endocrinology fellowship. It is designed to further help those patients who are considering gender-affirming transitions and surgery.
“UC Davis Medical Center and our entire health system are dedicated to inclusion because it benefits the health and well-being of patients and employees alike,” said Chao-Yin Chen, professor of pharmacology and chair of the health system’s LGBTQ+ advisory council. “Everything we’re doing is aimed at reducing the long-standing health disparities that the LGBTQ community has faced.”
Staff at the health system’s Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion also emphasized the importance of addressing the health and workplace needs of LGBTQ patients and employees.
“Being a part of the Healthcare Equality Index is perfectly aligned with UC Davis' mission, core values and patient-centered philosophy of care,” said Adrienne S. Lawson, director of Institutional Culture, Climate & Community Engagement. “We’re driven now more than ever to make sure patients, families, visitors and care team members are treated with the kindness, dignity and respect they deserve.”
For more information about 2019 Healthcare Equality Index, visit www.hrc.org/hei when it is published on August 16, 2019.