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The Human Rights Campaign has released its 2010 Healthcare Equality Index, which rates healthcare providers on their policies toward the LGBT community. The HRC’s press release was not impressed. It kicks off: “new healthcare equality analysis from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation found that no healthcare facilities in the Washington, D.C., metro area reviewed for the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) 2010 have fully inclusive non-discrimination policies for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.”
Let’s see how our local hospitals stacked up:
Six hospitals included in the survey—-Washington Hospital Center, Sibley Memorial Hospital, Howard University Hospital, Providence Hospital, the MedStar-Georgetown Medical Center, and the George Washington University Hospital—-are located in the District of Columbia. Of those, only three have a patient non-discrimination policy that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation; zero have a policy that mentions gender identity. The D.C. Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity, but since the act is not always easily enforceable, it’s important for hospitals to be committed to eliminating these illegal forms of discrimination internally.
Five hospitals surveyed—-Washington Adventist Hospital, Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, Doctors Community Hospital, Suburban Hospital, and Holy Cross Hospital—-are located in Maryland. Only two prohibit discrimination against patients based on sexual orientation; again, none include gender identity in their policies. Maryland prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, but a bill to add “gender identity and expression” to the list died last year.
Five more hospitals—-Reston Hospital Center, Inova Fair Oaks Hospital, Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, Virginia Hospital Center, and Inova Alexandria Hospital—-are located in Virginia. Oh, Virginia. Virginia’s Human Rights law does not protect against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The George Washington University was the only local hospital to voluntarily participate in the study, so the HRC has a little bit more data on the hospital’s visitation policy, its LGBT training, and its employment non-discrimination policy. Results were mixed:
Today, the G.W. Hospital issued a press release patting itself on the back for throwing the HRC some info. (Gotta start somewhere). While Chief Operating Officer Kimberly Russo admitted “there is more we can do,” she also clarified that the hospital’s “liberal visitation policy extends the same rights to gay and lesbian partners as are granted to married spouses or heterosexual couples.”
Photo of the George Washington University Hospital by NCinDC, Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0