Photo Friday: It’s important for a health system to score 100% on the HRC Corporate Equality Index, too

2016.03.30 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index Best Places to Work Reception 03832
With representatives from the other 406 best places to work in the United States for LGBTQ humans – 2016.03.30 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index Best Places to Work Reception 03832 (View on Flickr.com)

My generation of physicians came to medicine to be our 100% selves in support of 100% of our patients.

In addition, healthcare organizations with 500+ employees may well want to participate in HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, which offers a wealth of suggestions for workplace equality. – Human Rights Campaign, Health Equality Index : Employment Non-Discrimination

Except that no health systems, hospitals, or academic medical centers have achieved 100% on this index. Except for Kaiser Permanente.

The Corporate Equality Index measures, on a scale of 0-100, an employers’ commitment to treat their LGBTQ employees equally, across all industries.

For an LGBTQ employee, it’s important that the rating be 100%. Any less to us is a failing grade – this is a lot different than many of the quality ratings in health care where 90, 80, or even 70 % is considered “industry leading” (and what does that say about our expectations).

The Healthcare Equality Index, currently not on a numerical scale, but going to one next year, measures inclusiveness in policies for LGBTQ patients. In 2017, it will have a criteria for “employee benefits and policies.” Perhaps there will be reconciliation of the two indices for health systems and hospitals.

In the meantime, when a health system is a leader on one and not on the other, the potential for LGBTQ discrimination is much greater. Kaiser Permanenente is the only health system in the United States that has both (Kaiser Permanente Recognized as a ‘Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality’ by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation – Kaiser Permanente Share).

The two are tightly connected. When you’re receiving medical care, you want your nurses and doctors to bring all of themselves to your health. When you’re providing medical care, you want to be able to help your patients bring all of themselves to their lives.

2016.03.30 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index Best Places to Work Reception 03870
Healthcare: Such a short list. Why? 2016.03.30 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index Best Places to Work Reception 03870 (View on Flickr.com)

My colleague Bianca Rey (@BiancaRey) and I, went to New York City this week, to collect Kaiser Permanente’s 100% Corporate Equality Index Award. KP has achieved 100% for every year the index has been in place, except for one, and that year prompted changes that brought us back to 100%.

If you look at the list of health care organizations that scored 100% this year, you’ll notice it’s short. Really short. There are no hospitals or health systems present (except for Kaiser Permanente, as stated). There are 5,627 hospitals in the United States.

As Chad Griffin, President of Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) so eloquently stated on this evening, working for an employer that embraces your identity is not just better business, it can be life saving. Extend that to the 16 million people who work in health care in the United States, 11% of the workforce, and it can be lifesaving for the 318 million people they serve.

2016.03.30 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index Best Places to Work Reception 03841
Being a part of the 407 best. Not just employees that are embraced, lives that are saved. 2016.03.30 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index Best Places to Work Reception 03841 (View on Flickr.com)

I asked a colleague from another 100% company outside of health care why they thought that there weren’t more (any) hospitals on the list. He theorized that many of them may not have the time to certify 100% on this index.

My answer to that is that humans always make time for what’s important. At Kaiser Permanente, the organization has taken the time. And not because of me, because of KP.

I wouldn’t want to work at a place that’s less than 100% committed to every employee bringing all of themselves to what they do. Same with the lawyers, engineers, architects, human resource professionals, powerline workers, and every employee represented in the room of 406 other best places to work.

A health system can exist for all who want to participate in it and for all who want produce their own health in collaboration with it. Join us.

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