Now Reading: Healthcare Equality Index 2011 – @HRC delivers good news and the news that we have a ways to go

The report rates 87 survey respondents (representing 375 facilities nationwide) on their policies related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) patients and families. Highlighting 27 Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality, it demonstrates both the progress being made and the work that remains to achieve healthcare equality for LGBT patients.

I am of course excited to know that Kaiser Permanente is highlighted in Healthcare Equality Index 2011 as a leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality in the 2011 Healthcare Equality Index report and for the third consecutive year, Kaiser Permanente has received a perfect 100 percent rating (and no less importantly, a 100% score in the corporate equality index as an employer as well).

I think this report points out some disturbing data about the health care landscape at the same time:

For example:

  • 52.6 % of the 87 voluntary respondents to this survey said they explicitly include the same visitation rights to same-sex couples as they do to different-sex couples
  • 48.6 % said they include these rights for same-sex parents
  • 90.8 % said they include “sexual orientation” in their equal employment opportunity policy
  • 64.4 % said they include “gender identity” in their equal employment opportunity policy

In other words, half (or more) of the voluntary respondents to the healthcare equality index for 2011 still do not provide protection for diverse families in the hospital. In 1 out of 10, there isn’t protection for LGB people in employment policies, in 4 out of 10, no protection for T in employment policies.

In this self-selected, voluntary group, I think that’s kind of amazing.

Add to that the fact that in 29 states, it’s still perfectly legal to fire someone for no other reason than that they are LGBT.

We have a ways to go. Happy that I don’t live in a state, work for an employer, or receive health care from an organization that is less than 100 %, and think no one else should, either, because 100 % is not perfection, it’s really minimum bar.

If you want to see what less-than-minimum-bar looks like, check out the video in this post (Obama orders hospitals to grant same-sex couples visitation rights) . The visitation discrimination that exists today, won’t exist for much longer, because tomorrow (actually yesterday, January 18, 2011) it wasn’t allowed anymore.

As it says in the report, the number of respondents is going up (to 87 from 50), and while this is still a tiny fraction of the health care organizations out there, I respect that those who did respond and are not 100 % are showing publicly where they need to improve. This is an important step. Thank you, Human Rights Campaign! (@HRC)

Ted Eytan, MD