COLUMBUS, OH -- Today, Nationwide Children’s Hospital announced its “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC). The designation was awarded in the 11th edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI).
“We are gratified to have achieved this Leader designation from the HRC Foundation,” said Denise Zabawski, vice president and chief information officer at Nationwide Children’s. “This recognition serves as an external validation of the dedication of our talented staff to deliver the highest quality of care to all of our patients and families equitably. We are guided by our commitment to deliver the very best care regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, income level, physical or mental disability, education or illness.”
Nationwide Children’s Hospital is committed to providing the best care possible to LGBTQ patients and families. LGBTQ children and adolescents have been shown to be a vulnerable and underserved population, often experiencing discrimination and health disparities within the health care system nationally.
“We’re very proud that Nationwide Children’s has developed care programs that are tailored to the unique needs of these patients and families,” said Scott Leibowitz, MD, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and the Medical Director of Behavioral Health for the hospital's THRIVE program.
The 11th edition of the HEI marks the second year that participants are given a numerical score based on their LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices. HEI participants are given scores in four criteria: foundational elements of LGBTQ patient-centered care, LGBTQ Patient Services and Support, Employee Benefits and Policies and LGBTQ Patient and Community Engagement. Participants that receive the maximum score in each section earn the coveted status of “2018 LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader.”
In the 2018 report, an impressive 418 facilities earned HRC’s “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation with a score of 100. Another 95 facilities earned the “Top Performer” designation for scoring from 80 to 95 points. With 82 percent of participating facilities scoring 80 points or more, healthcare facilities are going beyond the basics when it comes to adopting policies and practices in LGBTQ care.
Of the hospitals who did not participate in the HEI but were scored based on research, only 63 percent have patient non-discrimination policies that include both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” and only 53 percent were found to have an LGBTQ-inclusive employment non-discrimination policy.