Nearly 500 institutions recognized as leaders in LGBTQ health care equality
The Human Rights Campaign has named 495 U.S. health care institutions as “Leaders in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality,” meaning they encourage “equitable and inclusive care for LGBTQ patients and their families,” according to the organization.
The organization said this is the 13th year that facilities have been scored on foundational elements of LGBTQ patient-centered care: patient services and support; employee policies and benefits, including transgender inclusive health care benefits; and patient and community engagement. The maximum score that an institution can receive is 100.
Seven hospitals within the Mount Sinai Health System are among those that received a perfect score and the accompanying honor, the health system said in a press release.
Healio Primary Care spoke with David Reich, MD, the president and chief operating officer at The Mount Sinai Hospital, to learn more about how the health system earned its designation.
Q: What is Mount Sinai doing differently than other institutions to improve care for LGBTQ patients and employees?
A: We have been a leader for many years for patients in the LGBTQ population due to the establishment of the Institute for Advanced Medicine at Mount Sinai. This comprehensive service line was created from remnants of the former St. Vincent's Hospital System and the existing Mount Sinai programs that were dedicated to the LGBTQ community. Our reputation was further enhanced in 2016 by the establishment of the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery.
We are also an employer that values diversity; we target members of the LGBTQ community and of all races and ethnicities when interviewing for positions because we believe that diversity is our strength. Everyone who is hired goes through the standard Mount Sinai orientation, which includes an introduction to all our clinical systems, including the ones that have been optimized to be friendly to the LGBTQ population.
Q: How has Mount Sinai maintained its LGBTQ health care standards during the pandemic?
A: We always endeavor to retain our sensitivity and our dedication to our patients’ needs, no matter what demographic characteristics they have. We never stopped being ourselves during the pandemic and used every tool at our disposal, especially telehealth, to support the LGBTQ community during the crisis.
Q: What can smaller primary care practices learn from your success?
The most important thing they can do is continuously improve their staff training and messaging to provide optimal interactions with LGBTQ individuals in office settings. We all need to work through any problems, because there are inevitably going to be misunderstandings that may be rooted in outdated practices. An attitude of openness towards learning and towards performance improvement is the only way to assure success, and we are always happy to share best practices — available at https://www.mountsinai.org/about/diversity/education-training — with our colleagues, both in the New York region and throughout the nation.
Editor’s note: The full list of health systems designated as Leaders in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality can be found here .
- Human Rights Campaign. Amid COVID-19 pandemic, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation recognizes and thanks record 765 health care facilities paving the way for equality. https://www.hrc.org/press-releases/amid-covid-19-pandemic-the-human-rights-campaign-foundation-recognizes-and-thanks-record-765-health-care-facilities-paving-the-way-for-equality. Accessed Sept. 11, 2020.
- Human Rights Campaign. Healthcare Equality Index 2020. https://hrc-prod-requests.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/resources/HEI-2020-FinalReport.pdf. Accessed Sept. 11, 2020.