Providing welcoming and knowledgeable care for LGBTQ+ patients is an important priority for Dignity Health. LGBTQ+ people have long faced barriers to accessing health care and health inequity persists today. As a mission-driven organization founded to provide care for all, Dignity Health is called to continuously improve care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients.
That’s why all Dignity Health hospitals in California participated in the Human Rights Campaign’s 2022 Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey of healthcare facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees.
“As caregivers, we are always actively seeking tools to help us enhance the care we provide for all our patients,” said Marvin O’Quinn, President and Chief Operating Officer at Dignity Health. “Following the comprehensive framework outlined in the HEI application has helped us implement several best practices for LGBTQ+ care, including policy changes, staff training, and additional support for patients and families.”
Supporting the health of LGBTQ+ people has long been a priority for Dignity Health, which has a legacy of responding with urgency to the AIDS epidemic, supporting LGBTQ+ causes, and expanding services for these patients – like through Dignity Health’s Gender Institute in San Francisco, a leading provider of transgender health care services.
As part of the HEI process, Dignity Health worked with a nationally recognized LGBTQ+ health expert to undertake a comprehensive review of policies and practices supporting LGBTQ+ patients and staff. For example:
- Dozens of policies were updated to support LGBTQ+ health care outcomes,
- Training was expanded for staff and clinicians,
- IT processes and patient forms were updated to better capture preferred pronouns and solicit feedback from LGBTQ+ patients,
- Welcomed an LGBTQ+ patient advocate on staff,
- Clarified wording in employee benefits to be explicitly inclusive of LGBTQ+ employees. We also launched a website outlining our commitments.
“Every person deserves to have access to quality healthcare, be respected and heard by their doctor, and feel safe in the facility where they are receiving care. But 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 & Aging at The Human Rights Campaign. “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. Our HEI active participants are truly pioneering the healthcare industry by implementing robust, comprehensive LGBTQ+ inclusive policies that hopefully, because of their work, will become standard practice.”
This recognition from HEI is a testament to the dedication of Dignity Health’s compassionate care teams, who are committed to helping make sure that LGBTQ+ patients feel welcome, heard, and safe in Dignity Health care sites every day.