HRC releases first Healthcare Equality Index

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The Human Rights Campaign is hoping to repeat the success of its popular Corporate Equality Index with a new report focused on patient care.  The Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) is a groundbreaking survey of hospitals and their treatment of GLBT patients.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Williamson Medical Center were the only two Tennessee hospitals to participate in the voluntary survey. Vanderbilt matched or outperformed Williamson in most areas but fell short on both items relating to gender identity.  Notably absent from the survey were St. Thomas Medical System, Nashville General and all of the Tri-Star Health System Hospitals.

“By publishing the Healthcare Equality Index, we not only shine a light on the top performing hospitals, but also draw attention to prejudices that GLBT Americans must face during some of their most critical moments,” said Joe Solmonese, Human Rights Campaign Foundation President .  “With each subsequent edition of the HEI, we will move the healthcare industry closer to gold standard of national policies that will improve the treatment and prevent discrimination of GLBT Americans and their families.”

Representatives of Vanderbilt University Medical Center expressed pride in their showing on the HEI but acknowledged that some improvements need to be made.

"Vanderbilt is pleased to have met the criteria in 7 of the ten areas that are outlined in the report", said Vanderbilt spokesperson Jerry Jones. "Areas which we will seek improvement on include modifying our admission and discharge forms to better reflect the needs of our GLBT patients; additional diversity training for faculty and staff so that they better understand what the needs of our GLBT patients are and, finally, work with University officials to add gender identity to our non-discrimination and equal employment clause."

The 2008 Healthcare Equality Index is available online in PDF format: www.hrc.org/hei.