An annual online survey (PDF)
to measure the quality of care for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients and their families showed a 40% increase in the number of U.S. healthcare facilities participating in this year's poll.
Administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the annual Healthcare Equality Index—first released in 2007—showed that the number of survey respondents rose to 122 from 87 in 2011, representing a total of 407 individual healthcare facilities. Adventist HealthCare, Bon Secours Health System, Bronson Healthcare Group, Grady Health System, Iowa Health-Des Moines and the University of Utah Hospital & Clinics participated in the survey for the first time.
The findings also showed a sharp increase in the number of healthcare facilities that reached the status of “Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality,” which recognizes providers that meet the four core criteria for patient-centered care: patient non-discrimination, visitation and employment non-discrimination policies, and training in LGBT patient-centered care. In 2012, 71 facilities achieved this status, which represented a 162% increase from the 27 facilities in 2011.
In January 2011, the CMS released regulations that required hospitals to allow patients to choose their visitors and prohibited discrimination in patient visits based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The Joint Commission subsequently aligned its standards to meet those requirements.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a news conference Tuesday that the results are encouraging, but noted that LGBT Americans still face “numerous barriers to health: from providers who don’t understand their health needs to getting health insurance.” They also encounter discrimination and bigotry in the healthcare system, Sebelius added.
The 407 facilities participating in the survey are in 32 states and Washington, D.C.