Newswise — Washington, D.C., April 11, 2022 — MedStar Washington Hospital Center has been named “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader,” scoring a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI). The HEI is the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey of healthcare facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors, and associates.
“We are so proud of this recognition, as we work every day to create an inclusive environment and a welcoming clinical encounter for every patient who comes to us for care,” said Gregory A. Argyros, MD, president, MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “We initiated many changes to align with best practices, including adapting our patient electronic health record to capture appropriate information and adopting an LGBTQ+ Patient Bill of Rights. We appreciate the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s acknowledgment of our work.”
The HEI evaluates and scores healthcare facilities on detailed criteria falling under four central pillars:
● Foundational Policies and Training in LGBTQ+ Patient-Centered Care
● LGBTQ+ Patient Services and Support
● Employee Benefits and Policies
● Patient and Community Engagement
Other accomplishments that enabled MedStar Washington Hospital Center to achieve “Leader” status include:
● Updating visitation policy to include explicit language granting equal visitation to LGBTQ+ patients and their visitors
● Ensuring employment non-discrimination policy is fully LGBTQ+-inclusive by including the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”
● Creating written strategy for reducing health disparities specifically among LGBTQ+ patients
● Making LGBTQ+-knowledgeable and -friendly providers known as such to interested patients and providing a confidential mechanism to make LGBTQ+-specific referrals
● Informing patients of their right to designate any person of their choice, including an unmarried partner, as a medical decision-maker
● Modernizing unisex restroom signage to “All Gender”
● Offering transgender-specific clinical services, including gender-affirming surgical procedures
● Implementing written policy that specifically outlines procedures aimed at eliminating bias and insensitivity, and ensuring appropriate, welcoming interactions with transgender patients
● Updating health insurance policy definition of spouse to include same-sex spouses and the same documentation is required for enrollment of same and different-sex spouses
● Updating hiring efforts to be explicitly LGBTQ+-inclusive
● Offering FMLA-equivalent to care for domestic partners and children of a domestic partner
● Implementing a health plan that covers medically necessary health services for transgender people, including gender transition-related treatment
● Partnering with external LGBTQ+ organizations to assess and address LGBTQ+ health needs
● Supporting LGBTQ+ health-related research
A record 906 healthcare facilities actively participated in the 2022 HEI survey. MedStar Washington Hospital Center was one of 496 facilities to earn HRC’s “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation, receiving the maximum score in each section and earning an overall score of 100.
MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a not-for-profit, 912-bed, teaching and research hospital in the nation’s capital, and is a major referral center for treating the region’s most complex cases. Its cardiology program is highly acclaimed, and its cardiac surgery program has consistently earned the highest national rating–three stars–from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. MedStar Washington operates the region’s first Comprehensive Stroke Center and the District’s only Cardiac Ventricular Assist Device program, both certified by The Joint Commission. The hospital is also home to MedSTAR, a nationally verified level I trauma center with a state-of-the-art fleet of helicopters and ambulances, and also operates the region’s only adult Burn Center.