Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County (Public Health) has received an evaluation of 100 and the designation of “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 15th anniversary edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey of healthcare facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees. A record 906 healthcare facilities actively participated in the 2022 HEI survey and 496 of those earned an “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation.
"Public Health is dedicated to ensure the healthcare rights of LGBTQ+ people are maintained," said Jennifer Wentzel, Montgomery County Health Commissioner. "Public Health works to advance healthcare access for LGBTQ+ individuals by providing a comprehensive schedule of staff training and policies, educational opportunities for local healthcare providers and community agencies, and working collaboratively with our local partners through the LGBTQ+ Health Alliance."
Public Health has initiated several changes to align with best practices including adapting our patient electronic health record to capture appropriate information, adopting an LGBTQ Patient Bill of Rights, changing our leave policy to make it more inclusive for all employees, and starting an LGBTQ Employee Resource Group.
Another important aspect of Public Health’s effort involves the LGBTQ+ Health Alliance that includes 65 LGBTQ+ identified people, allies, and advocates. Currently, there are 33 organizations from across the county who have been working since 2018 to address health equity.
“With an intensified focus on health equity and racism, this designation sends a powerful message to our community that we are focused on improving the health of all people especially those who identify in multiple ways in communities that have historically been stigmatized and marginalized,” said Commissioner Wentzel.
“Every person deserves to have access to quality healthcare, be respected and heard by their doctor, and feel safe in the facility where they are receiving care. But LGBTQ+ people are often subject to discrimination in all spaces, including healthcare facilities, which leads to members of the community avoiding care and anticipating our voices will not be respected in an incredibly vulnerable environment,” said Tari Hanneman, Director of Health & Aging at The Human Rights Campaign. “The Healthcare Equality Index, at its core, strives to ensure LGBTQ+ people are protected and affirmed by their healthcare providers and feel safe seeking services. Our HEI active participants are truly pioneering the healthcare industry by implementing robust, comprehensive LGBTQ+ inclusive policies that hopefully, because of their work, will become standard practice.”
The HEI evaluates and scores healthcare facilities on detailed criteria falling under four central pillars:
- Foundational Policies and Training in LGBTQ+ Patient-Centered Care
- LGBTQ+ Patient Services and Support
- Employee Benefits and Policies
- Patient and Community Engagement