VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (TVHS) earned "LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader" designation from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) in the 12th edition of HRC's Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), released August 16.
A record 680 health care facilities actively participated in the HEI 2019 survey, with HRC Foundation proactively researching key policies at 1000 additional non-participating hospitals. Of those included in the HEI, 406 earned a "LGBTQ health care Equality Leader" designation.
"Excellent care should have no boundaries. Our team works hard to deliver high quality health care and services to all Veterans," said TVHS Director, Jennifer Vedral-Baron. "That includes ensuring we provide a safe, welcoming, and affirmative environment of care for LGBTQ Veterans."
The 12th edition of the HEI assesses participants on four criteria: Non-Discrimination and Staff Training, Patient Services and Support, Employee Benefits and Policies, and Patient and Community Engagement.
In the 2019 report, 406 facilities earned HRC's "LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader" designation, receiving the maximum score in each section and earning an overall score of 100. With 81% of participating facilities scoring 80 points or more, health care facilities are demonstrating concretely that they are going beyond the basics when it comes to adopting policies and practices in LGBTQ care.
Progress reflected in the 2019 HEI includes:
• More than half of HEI participants now have written gender transition guidelines
• 75% of hospitals surveyed offer trans-inclusive benefits -- an increase of eight percentage points over 2018, and numbers that bring them on par with their corporate counterparts, as measured by HRC's 2019 CEI
• A 35% increase in training hours recorded -- clocking in at more than 94,000 hours of LGBTQ care training provided
• A 60% increase in the number of HEI participants whose electronic health records capture a patient's sexual orientation, and a 40% increase in the number of HEI participants whose electronic health records capture a patient's gender identity.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is education arm of America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
TVHS is an integrated tertiary health care system comprised of two hospitals, the Alvin C. York Campus in Murfreesboro and the Nashville Campus, as well as more than a dozen community-based outpatient clinics located in Tennessee and Kentucky. TVHS provides ambulatory care, primary care, and secondary care in acute medicine and surgery, specialized tertiary care, transplant services, spinal cord injury outpatient care, and a full range of extended care and mental health services.