Only Health Department in Ohio to Receive Equality Leader Designation
Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery joins 495 other nationwide healthcare organizations who have received the “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader” designation from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC). Public Health is the only Dayton-based healthcare organization and the only Ohio health department designated an Equality Leader awarded in the newly released 13th edition of HRC’s HealthCare Equality Index (HEI). The HEI is the national LGBTQ benchmarking tool of the HRC that evaluates healthcare facilities' policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of their LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees.
“I am proud that Public Health has achieved an important major milestone in our efforts to ensure Montgomery County is a place where ALL our residents can thrive,” said Jeff Cooper, Montgomery County Health Commissioner. Amidst a pandemic and with our intensified focus on health equity, racism and discrimination, this designation sends a powerful message to our community highlighting our commitment to improving the health of all people, especially those who identify in multiple ways in communities that have historically been stigmatized and marginalized.”
A record total of 765 healthcare facilities actively participated in the HEI 2020 survey. LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning – identities used for those who are sexual or gender minorities.
In December 2019, Public Health adopted a health equity resolution and approach to all of its programs and services, and in June 2020 the Board of Health passed a resolution declaring racismas a public health crisis.
“The healthcare facilities participating in the HRC Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI)are not only on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are also making it clear from their participation in the HEI that they stand on the side of fairness and are committed to providing inclusive care to their LGBTQ patients. In addition, many have made strong statements on racial justice and equity and are engaging in efforts to address racial inequities in their institutions and their communities,” said HRC President Alphonso David.
Every year, HRC recognizes the healthcare facilities that participate in the HEI for their dedication and commitment to LGBTQ inclusion. In the 2020 report, an impressive 495 facilities earned HRC’s “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader” designation, receiving the maximum score in each section and earning an overall score of 100. Another 193 facilities earned the “Top Performer” designation for scoring from 80 to 95 points. With 90% 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.
For Public Health, the process of achieving this designation required more than 18 months of work on the part of five cross-functional teams to review and address policies and practices with regard to employee benefits, non-discrimination policies and staff training, patient services and support, and community involvement/engagement. This effort was part of the agency’s LGBTQ Health Initiative, started in April 2018 to address LGBTQ health disparities such as access to culturally competent care, substance abuse, mental health and suicidality, among others.
Along the way Public Health initiated several changes to align with best practices including adapting its patient electronic health record to capture appropriate information, adopting an LGBTQ Patient Bill of Rights, changing its leave policy to make it more inclusive for all employees, and starting an LGBTQ Employee Resource Group.
Another important aspect of this effort involves Public Health’s LGBTQ Community Health Alliance that includes 65 LGBTQ and ally people and organizations from across the county who have been working to address health disparities through a collective impact approach.
You can learn more about Public Health’s LGBQ Health Initiative by visiting their website at: https://phdmc.org/client-services/lgbtq-care
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the 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.