OAKLAND, Calif., July 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente has been recognized as a "Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality" in the Healthcare Equality Index 2013 report, an annual survey conducted by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the country's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization. Kaiser Permanente earned top marks in the survey, released July 11, for its commitment to equitable, inclusive care for LGBT patients and their families, and educating health care providers about the challenges they can face in accessing adequate health care.
"This recognition from the HRC is a testament to Kaiser Permanente's longstanding commitment to achieving health equity for all our members and is aligned with our ongoing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex health-equity work being implemented throughout our system," said Ronald Copeland, MD, FACS, Kaiser Permanente chief diversity and inclusion officer.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation developed the Healthcare Equality Index to meet an urgent need on the part of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans for equitable, knowledgeable, sensitive and welcoming health care, free from discrimination based on LGBT status.
The Healthcare Equality Index 2013 included a survey that asked health care organizations 24 questions about best practices in LGBT patient-centered care. A subset of these questions focused on the "Core Four" policies and practices considered essential for equitable and inclusive LGBT care. These include foundational policies ensuring that LGBT patients and their families are welcomed and provided with care free of discrimination. Additionally, staff training is required to bring these policies to life and ensure compliance. Facilities that had all of these "Core Four" policies and practices in place were recognized as HEI 2013 Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality.
Raymond J. Baxter, PhD, senior vice president for Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy at Kaiser Permanente said, "Achieving leadership status in health care equality four consecutive times is a testament to Kaiser Permanente's commitment to address health care disparities in LGBTI communities. It is also indicative of our vision and commitment to total health for all our members."
Kaiser Permanente was one of a select group of 464 health care facilities nationwide to be named Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality. Facilities awarded this title met key criteria for equitable care, including non-discrimination policies for LGBT patients and employees, a guarantee of equal visitation for same-sex partners and parents, and LGBT health education for key staff members.
"Kaiser Permanente's leadership in the equitable care of our LGBTI members demonstrates the high-quality, patient-centered care that we deliver to meet the individual needs of all of our members," said Jed Weissberg, MD, senior vice president, Hospitals, Quality and Care Delivery Excellence, Kaiser Permanente. "To ensure the quality of care experience for all our members, we have implemented nondiscrimination policies for LGBTI patients and employees, established guarantees of equal visitation for same-sex partners and parents at our medical facilities, and provided LGBT health education for key staff."
Kaiser Permanente was congratulated by HRC Health and Aging Director Shane Snowdon. "LGBT patients deeply appreciate the welcoming environment provided by a Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality. It makes a big difference to know that your local health care facility is fully committed to giving you the same care it gives your neighbors and co-workers."
For more information about the Healthcare Equality Index 2013, or to download a free copy of the report, visit www.hrc.org/hei.
About The Human Rights Campaign
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all. For more information please visit www.hrc.org.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 9.1 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.
Bob Garcia, Kaiser Permanente, 510-271-2320 (work), 510-504-8774 (mobile)
SOURCE Kaiser Permanente