WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The Human Rights Campaign and the
Gay and Lesbian Medical Association announced today a first-of-its-kind
tool to rate the healthcare industry on how it treats its gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender (GLBT) patients and to educate the GLBT community
about what to expect from healthcare providers and facilities.
The Human Rights Campaign is the nation's largest gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. The Gay and Lesbian
Medical Association is the world's largest association of GLBT healthcare
"We have seen, through our Corporate Equality Index, that these indexes
are successful in dramatically moving industries toward a greater
understanding and support of policies, standards, and training that insure
equal treatment," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.
"Given the patchwork of federal and state laws, it is our hope that this
index will provide our community with the resources to make sound
healthcare decisions for their loved ones. Too many times, a gay man has
been unable to comfort his partner, a transgender person has been ridiculed
instead of treated, or a lesbian mom has been barred from seeing her child
at the hospital. We believe this project will create a 'patient's bill of
rights' for GLBT Americans so we no longer have to live in fear of these
"Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have unique healthcare
needs, and hospitals need to implement certain policies and procedures in
order to ensure high- quality, non-discriminatory care," said Joel
Ginsberg, Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.
"Some hospitals are already doing a good job. This project will help all
hospitals improve their services to our community, while giving our
community the opportunity to assess which hospitals are willing to take
those necessary steps."
Due to incomplete and oftentimes inadequate state laws and differing
hospital policies across the country, there are many challenges in
guaranteeing equal health treatment for the GLBT community. The Healthcare
Equality Index will identify and promote the widespread adoption of
standards that promote quality and reduce discrimination in hospital-based
healthcare. The project aims to create a baseline understanding of existing
hospital policies and to measure improvement from year to year.
The goals of the Healthcare Equality Index project include:
* Providing information to the public and the GLBT community about how the
hospital industry and individual hospitals respond to the needs of GLBT
individuals and their families;
* Educating the GLBT community about their healthcare needs and rights;
* Educating the public about challenges faced by GLBT people and their
families in our nation's healthcare system;
* Developing and promoting best practice models or "gold standard"
policies for the healthcare industry; and,
* Positively affecting the behavior of the hospital industry toward the
Surveys for the HEI were mailed to the largest 1,000 hospitals in the
United States. A Council of Industry Advisors, comprised of representatives
from professional associations, unions and healthcare facilities, and a
Community Advisory Group, comprised of GLBT health advocates, leaders and
experts, are guiding project design and implementation.
The survey includes questions that address patient and employee non-
discrimination policies, visitation rights and medical decision making for
same-sex couples and same-gender parents, and cultural competency and
quality of care.
The first report is expected to be released in the Spring of 2007. For
additional information on the report, go to http://www.hrc.org/hei.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights
organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender
equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end
discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves
fundamental fairness and equality for all.
The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) is the world's largest
association of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) healthcare
professionals. For 25 years, GLMA has been working to ensure equality in
health care for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and
healthcare professionals through advocacy, education, research and
SOURCE Human Rights Campaign