Newswise — CHICAGO — For the first time, all three hospitals in the Rush University System for Health have been designated a "Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality" in the Healthcare Equality Index. This index is an annual survey of how U.S. health care facilities treat lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning patients and their families, as well as their own LGBTQ employees.
The findings of the 2019 HEI were announced today. This marks the 11th consecutive year Rush University Medical Center has been designated as an LGBTQ leader, the sixth consecutive designation for Rush Oak Park Hospital, and the first designation for Rush Copley Medical Center.
“Diversity, inclusion and respect are valued throughout Rush, and this honor is a great example of our commitment across our system,” said Ranga Krishnan, MB, ChB, CEO, Rush University System for Health. “With all three of our hospitals earning this designation, we are clearly showing our LGBTQ patients, students, employees and volunteers that all are welcome and supported everywhere at Rush.”
Rush hospitals are among a select group of 406 health care facilities nationwide to be named leaders in the 2019 HEI report, which evaluated nearly 1,700 health care facilities in all.
“Throughout Rush, we believe in a culture of respect, inclusion and equal treatment of all of our patients, employees and students, regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation or sexual identity,” said Omar Lateef, DO, Rush University Medical Center CEO. “This is an important part of our mission to provide the very best health care for the individuals and diverse communities we serve. Receiving this designation again is a confirmation that we are fulfilling that mission.”
"I am proud Rush Copley has been recognized for supporting the LGBTQ community through health care equality," added Barry C. Finn, president and CEO of Rush Copley and executive vice president of the Rush System. "We strive to provide excellence in care for all patients — without exceptions — and will continue our efforts to make a difference in the lives and health of LGBTQ patients and all of our community."
“At Rush Oak Park Hospital, we are proud to receive this designation for the sixth time, and we are continuing our efforts to improve access to LGBT-knowledgeable health care providers, improve health care resources for the LGBT community and the implementation of best practices for our LGBT patients,” said Bruce Elegant, president and CEO of Rush Oak Park Hospital.
HEI participants again were assessed and scored on four criteria that represent how many policies and best practices they have implemented from each section, including nondiscrimination and staff training; LGBTQ patient services and support; LGBTQ employee benefits and policies; and LGBTQ patient and community engagement. The Rush hospitals received the maximum score in each section, for a total score of 100 points, to earn the coveted status of 2019 Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality.
The HEI is administered annually by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the HRC, the largest LGBTQ organization in the United States, and is intended to encourage equal care of LGBTQ patients.
“This is an especially exciting year – to see all three of the Rush hospitals be recognized as Leaders. I feel incredibly proud to have worked on this with so many wonderful people across the system,” said Christopher Nolan, MPA, system manager of community health and benefits, and chair of Rush's LGBTQ Leadership Council.
“It is not only a tremendous affirmation of our commitment to the LGBTQ community, but also a reflection of great leadership at Rush and our LGBTQ efforts across the system.”
LGBTQ commitment includes transgender health benefits, patient support team
Rush’s commitment to a welcoming environment for LGBTQ patients, students, employees and visitors includes the LGBTQ Leadership Council of Rush’s Diversity Leadership Council, which provides guidance to Rush University Medical Center, Rush University, Rush Oak Park Hospital and Rush Copley Medical Center about diversity issues and initiates events throughout the year to promote diversity.
Due in part to the council’s efforts, at the beginning of 2016 Rush became the first health system in the state of Illinois to offer comprehensive transgender health benefits to employees and students alike. In addition, Rush University Medical Center has implemented the following LGBTQ initiatives:
- Dedicating support with a manager of social work and navigation services, a program coordinator and patient naviagator to assist employees, students and patients with any LGBTQ needs
- Development of a comprehensive LGBTQ policy statement detailing Rush’s commitment to the LGBTQ community
- A dedicated LGBTQ section on the Medical Center’s website
- Incorporating entries for sexual orientation and gender identity into the electronic medical records system used at the Medical Center and Rush Oak Park Hospital, and providing training in the entry and use of this patient information
- Development of an institutional LGBTQ logo, which is displayed on more than 2,000 lapel pins distributed to individuals across the Rush System and a banner carried by Rush participants in Chicago and Aurora’s annual LGBT Pride Parades.
- Changing the signage on all public single-occupancy bathrooms on campus to indicate that they are "all-gender" – that is, their use is not designated specifically for either men or women. The signage is intended to be welcoming to people who are transgender or identify as being of non-binary gender (neither specifically/solely male or female).
HEI designation the latest in steady stream of honors for Rush
The LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader designation is the latest in a consistent stream of honors for Rush system hospitals that are unique among U.S. academic health systems, including the following:\
- U.S. News & World Report ranked five specialty care programs at Rush University Medical Center among the best in the country — with two in the top 10 nationwide — in the annual “Best Hospitals” issue.. The Medical Center’s orthopedics program was ranked seventh in the country and remains the highest-ranked orthopedics program in Illinois. The gynecology program also is the highest ranked statewide in this specialty. All three Rush system hospitals also were recognized as high performing for specific procedures and conditions that U.S. News evaluates. Rush Copley Medical Center was rated high performing for COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), heart failure and knee replacement, and Rush Oak Park Hospital is rated high performing for heart failure. Rush University Medical Center was rated high performing for COPD colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery.
- Rush University Medical Center was named one of the “Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion" based on high scores it achieved in the 2019 Disability Equality Index.
- All three Rush hospitals received four stars in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ latest Hospital Compare overall rating in February.
- In October, Rush University Medical Center was ranked second in the nation among 99 leading academic medical centers in the latest annual quality and accountability study conducted by Vizient Inc.
- Rush University Medical Center received its fourth consecutive Magnet designation, the highest honor in nursing, in January 2016, and Rush Oak Park Hospital received Magnet status in March 2016. Rush Copley Medical Center is pursuing Magnet status.
- All three Rush hospitals have received the Beacon Award for Excellence by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, which honors intensive care unit nursing teams as being exceptional and in the top tier nationally.
- All three Rush hospitals repeatedly have received an ‘A’ grade for safety, the highest possible, from the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit patient safety watchdog organization. Rush Copley has received A grades each of the 14 times the Leapfrog Group has rated hospitals since June 2012. Rush University Medical Center previously has received 13 A grades, and Rush Oak Park Hospital has received seven.
- The Leapfrog Group also has named each of the Rush hospitals a Top Hospital (which is a different honor than Leapfrog’s safety grade), designating Rush University Medical Center a Top Teaching Hospital five times.
- Rush University Medical Center and Rush Oak Park Hospital both have received the Healthgrades Outstanding Patient Experience Award, which recognizes hospitals that provide an overall outstanding patient experience. Healthgrades evaluates patient experience performance by applying a scoring methodology to 10 patient experience measures, using data collected from the 32-question survey of the hospital’s own patients. Hospitals in the top 15 percent with the highest overall patient experience scores are recognized as Outstanding Patient Experience Award recipients.