Report on LGBT Healthcare Equality Rates Eight Washington, DC Facilities

Three Local Facilities Earn Perfect Ratings; Work Remains to Achieve Healthcare Equality for LGBT Patients Across the U.S.

WASHINGTON — A report released today by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation on LGBT healthcare equality, rates eight Washington, DC healthcare facilities, three of which achieved “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” status for their perfect ratings. Ratings are based on responses to the Healthcare Equality Index 2011 survey administered by the HRC Foundation. The survey respondents, which voluntarily submitted information on their policies related to LGBT patients and families, include: The George Washington University Hospital, Howard University Hospital, MedStar-Georgetown Medical Center, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Providence Hospital, Sibley Memorial Hospital, United Medical Center and Whitman-Walker Health.

“The first step in creating a healthcare environment free of bias and discrimination is taking an internal look at the policies and practices that directly affect LGBT patients,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “We thank these healthcare facilities for participating in the Healthcare Equality Index.”

In Washington, DC, The George Washington University Hospital, Howard University Hospital and Whitman-Walker Health are recognized as “Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality,” a designation awarded to survey respondents that achieve credit for each of the applicable rated criteria in the HEI survey. These respondents have explicit policies in place to protect LGBT patients and employees from discrimination and ensure equal visitation access for same-sex couples and same-sex parents. They also provide LGBT cultural competency training for all staff.

Nationally, the Healthcare Equality Index 2011 found that nearly 90 percent of participating healthcare facilities include sexual orientation in their Patient’s Bill of Rights and/or non-discrimination policy, but only 60 percent include gender identity in these policies.  Additionally, only 49 percent of participating facilities have an explicitly inclusive visitation policy granting equal access for same-sex couples and 52 percent have such a policy inclusive of same-sex parents. In response to a memorandum from President Obama, the Department of Health and Human Services issued  rules in January of this year requiring all hospitals that receive federal Medicare and Medicaid funding — nearly every hospital in America — to protect the visitation rights of LGBT people.

The HEI 2011 reports on the voluntary participation of a record 87 survey respondents, representing 375 facilities nationwide. This year, 27 survey respondents are recognized as Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality. As facilities transition to more LGBT-friendly policies and procedures, the HEI can serve as an organizational tool by assisting hospitals in modifying their policies, and can help hospitals in their efforts to comply with both Joint Commission standards addressing non-discrimination, and HHS regulations on visitation.

“We commend not only the Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality, but all HEI participants, for their commitment to ensuring equal access to high quality care for all” added Solmonese. “Sadly, the fear of discrimination causes many LGBT people to avoid seeking healthcare all together, which in turn leads to the significant healthcare disparities faced by the LGBT community. It is our hope the HEI will lead us on the path to better care for all Americans.”

The HEI helps LGBT patients find quality healthcare free of prejudice and discrimination and empowers patients to encourage healthcare professionals to embrace LGBT healthcare equality.  As a companion to the Index, HRC produced two videos in order to show the difficulties LGBT patients may face and to help healthcare administrators understand why creating an environment welcoming of LGBT patients and their families is the right thing to do.  Both videos can be viewed at

In conjunction with the HEI report, the HRC Foundation has released a companion piece. A resource for those interested in Healthcare Equality Index participation, this document serves as a “Call to Action” for healthcare administrators, outlining the business and quality incentives for participating.

View the HRC Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index 2011 and this companion resource at

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.

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