Newswise — The University of Chicago Medicine earned the top “leader” designation from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation for the academic medical center’s inclusive policies and practices related to LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees.

It was the third time in a row the organization received high marks from the educational arm of the civil rights organization. The results were reported Wednesday in the 10th edition of HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI).

A record 590 health care facilities across the country actively participated in the HEI 2017 survey of practices and policies pertaining to the LGBTQ community. In addition to active survey participants, the HRC Foundation proactively researched key policies at more than 900 non-participating hospitals. Of all those included in the HEI, 302 earned a “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” designation.

In Illinois, UChicago Medicine was one of 11 designated leaders in LGBTQ health equality.

“I’m especially proud that we’ve earned the 2017 designation because the HRC implemented new criteria that made the survey more demanding and comprehensive,” said Brenda Battle, RN, BSN, MBA, vice president, Urban Health Initiative and chief diversity and inclusion officer. “This designation is a crowning achievement in our ongoing work in diversity, inclusion and equity. Each of us contributes to an environment that ensures the best care for all patients and a welcoming workplace that makes the most of our differences.”

HEI participants were scored on criteria that represent how many policies and best practices they implemented, including foundational elements of LGBTQ patient-centered care such as equal visitation and non-discrimination policies. The organizations were also scored on LGBTQ patient services and support, employee benefits and policies, as well as LGBTQ patient and community engagement.

Participants that received the maximum score in each section, for a total score of 100 points, earned the status of “2017 Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality.”