National Gay Rights Organizations Team Up to Create 'First of Its Kind' Hospital Rating

Healthcare Equality Index Will Rate Industry on Its Treatment of Gay,

Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Patients

Nov 27, 2006, 00:00 ET from Human Rights Campaign

    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
       GLBT community.
     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
     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