For the sixth year in a row, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, has recognized AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center (ARMC) as a “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality.” The HRC is the educational arm of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization.
The findings were part of HRC Foundation’s 10th edition of the Healthcare Equality Index, a unique annual survey that encourages equal care for LGBTQ Americans by evaluating inclusive policies and practices related to LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees.
“We are honored to be recognized for a sixth year as a leader in healthcare equality for LGBTQ patients,” said Julie Drew, system executive director, AtlantiCare Behavioral Health and executive sponsor of AtlantiCare’s PRIDE Employee Resource Group. “It is important for us to be supportive of all community members—regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. I am proud to work for an organization that embraces this level of commitment to diversity.”
“It’s important to create an environment where all patients can receive equitable treatment and where no one faces discrimination,” added Edward Hamaty Jr., D.O., chairman, AtlantiCare Critical Care, and executive sponsor of AtlantiCare’s PRIDE Employee Resource Group.
ARMC earned top marks in meeting non-discrimination and training criteria that demonstrate its commitment to equitable, inclusive care for LGBTQ patients and their families, who can face significant challenges in securing the quality health care and respect they deserve.
ARMC is one of a select group of 302 healthcare facilities nationwide to be named Leaders in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality. Facilities awarded this title meet key criteria, including patient and employee non-discrimination policies that specifically mention sexual orientation and gender identity, a guarantee of equal visitation for same-sex partners and parents, and LGBTQ health education for key staff members.
In 2016, the HRC recognized ARMC’s work protecting patients’ visitation rights and providing employee education by highlighting the hospital in its HEI 2017 Resource Guide best practices. AtlantiCare includes information about these and other steps it has taken in AtlantiCare’s Diversity & Inclusion Journey, 2010-2015 report.
The 2017 HEI implemented new criteria that raised the bar on what it takes to earn the “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” designation. HEI participants were given scores in four criteria that represent how many policies and best practices from each section they have implemented: foundational elements of LGBTQ patient-centered care, LGBTQ Patient Services and Support, Employee Benefits and Policies, and LGBTQ Patient and Community Engagement. Participants that received the maximum score in each section for a total score of 100 points earn the status of “2017 Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality.”
“The 2017 HEI reminds us again that though we have made tremendous gains over the past decade, there is still much more work left for us to do. With some of our biggest battles still ahead of us, it is crucial that institutions continue to demonstrate that the march toward full equality is not slowing down,” said Chad Griffin, president of the HRC. “The 590 participants in this year’s HEI continue this march in partnership with the LGBTQ community. For the past decade, the HEI has been the roadmap to closing the gap in ensuring equal care to LGBTQ patients and their families, and we urge every healthcare facility to join us in this continuing effort to provide inclusive care to all.”
The Healthcare Equality Index offers healthcare facilities unique and powerful resources designed to help provide equal care to a long-overlooked group of patients, as well as assistance in complying with regulatory requirements and access to high-quality staff training.
For more information about the Healthcare Equality Index 2017, or to download a free copy of the report, visit www.hrc.org/hei. The report is the result of an annual survey conducted by the HRC Foundation, the educational arm of the country’s largest LGBT organization.
About AtlantiCare’s Diversity & Inclusion Council
AtlantiCare’s Diversity & Inclusion Council, which includes physicians, staff and leadership from throughout AtlantiCare, established employee resource groups (ERGs). The ERGs help support the mission of the Diversity & Inclusion Council by educating staff about the culture/community; celebrating community/cultural holidays and events; representing AtlantiCare at community/cultural events; enhancing recruitment efforts; and identifying top health concerns and developing ideas for addressing these concerns. AtlantiCare ERG groups include African Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Disabilities, Hispanic Americans, Interfaith, LGBT, Military, and Women.