PHILADELPHIA – All six of Penn Medicine’s hospitals will be recognized as 2019 leaders in LGBTQ healthcare equality by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization.
The HRC Foundation has consistently recognized Penn Medicine hospitals as leaders in LGBTQ patient-centered care, but this year marks two “firsts” for the health system. Princeton Health participated in the foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index survey for the first time and scored a total of 100/100 points, earning the HRC’s coveted “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation. Penn Medicine’s Lancaster General Health also earned the “Equality Leader” designation. The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Hospital, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, and Chester County Hospital will be awarded “Top Performer” designations.
“Maintaining an inclusive, welcoming, and compassionate environment for all of our patients, visitors, and staff is critical to any health system, and Penn Medicine is committed to prioritizing this in our workplaces, classrooms, and clinical settings,” said Patrick J. Brennan, MD, Penn Medicine’s chief medical officer. “Having all of our hospitals on this list is a tremendous accolade for the health system.”
The honors will be part of the HRC Foundation’s forthcoming 2019 Healthcare Equality Index, which surveyed U.S. health care institutions and scored them based on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ patients, visitors, and employees — who may face discrimination and challenges obtaining quality care. The Healthcare Equality Index survey participants are assessed on four criteria: non-discrimination and staff training, patient services and support, employee benefits and policies, and patient and community engagement. Participants that receive the maximum score in each category and a total score of 100 points earn the status of “2019 LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader,” and facilities that score 80 to 95 points are named “Top Performers.”
“LGBTQ patients can face very significant challenges in navigating the health care system. The Healthcare Equality Index affirms that Penn Medicine recognizes these challenges and ensures that we treat this community with dignity and respect,” said Eve Higginbotham, MD, SM, vice dean for Inclusion and Diversity at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. “Penn Medicine’s commitment to serving the LGBTQ community would not be possible without our active partnerships, and without key health system and Perelman School of Medicine faculty leaders.”
Penn Medicine was the first academic medical center in the Northeast — and among only a handful of medical centers in the country — to launch a program across multiple professional schools and affiliated hospitals to improve the health of LGBTQ individuals. Since its inception in 2013, the Penn Medicine Program for LGBT Health has focused on promoting an LGBTQ-inclusive climate, providing professional development for LGBTQ employees, increasing LGBTQ participation in Penn research initiatives, and improving patient and family-centered care for LGBTQ patients.
With more than 3 million members and supporters nationwide, the HRC is the largest national LGBTQ civil rights organization. In addition to being a valuable tool and resource for health care organizations, the Healthcare Equality Index is used by LGBTQ patients and their families to find facilities that provide equitable and inclusive care.