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VUMC again named a leader in LGBT health care equality

Mar. 31, 2016, 12:34 PM

For the fifth year in a row, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) has been recognized as a Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality by the Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) 2016.

When the Medical Center first received this designation in 2012 it was the only hospital in Tennessee with the distinction.

This year, 496 health care facilities nationwide met the HEI Core Four criteria — patient non-discrimination policies, equal visitation policies, employment non-discrimination policies and training in LGBTI patient-centered care.

“Our recognition as a leader five years in a row is a clear acknowledgement of the sustained effort we have made as a medical center to both welcome and support our LGBT patients,” said Jesse Ehrenfeld, M.D., MPH, associate professor of Anesthesiology, Biomedical Informatics, Surgery and Health Policy at Vanderbilt. “Each year we have continued to take additional steps to broaden the services we offer and ensure equal access for our LGBT patients and their families.”

Ehrenfeld also serves as the co-director of the Vanderbilt Program for LGBTI Health and consultant to the associate dean of Diversity on LGBTI issues.

Vanderbilt is among the first academic medical centers to both achieve HEI Leadership designation and form an office dedicated to LGBTI health and equality.

The findings were part of the annual survey that encourages equal care for LGBT Americans by evaluating inclusive policies and practices related to LGBT patients, visitors and employees. Vanderbilt earned top marks in meeting non-discrimination and training criteria that demonstrate its commitment to equitable, inclusive care for LGBT patients and their families, who can face significant challenges in securing quality health care and respect.

“Despite all the progress we’ve made, far too many LGBT people still lack inclusive and affirming health care,” said Chad Griffin, president of HRC. “LGBT people have a right to be treated equally in all aspects of our lives and HRC celebrates Vanderbilt for its work to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all patients.”

HEI is the national LGBT benchmarking tool that evaluates health care facilities’ policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of their LGBT patients, visitors and employees.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation developed the Healthcare Equality Index to meet a need on the part of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans: the need for equitable, knowledgeable, sensitive and welcoming health care, free from discrimination.

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