Several children’s health care facilities, including one of the top children’s hospitals in the country, were named “Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality” in HRC’s 2012 Healthcare Equality Index (HEI).
- Baystate High Street Health Center – Pediatric Medicine (Springfield, Massachusetts)
- Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (Ohio). (Third in the nation on U.S. News & World Report’s Honor Roll of children’s hospitals.)
- Holtz Children’s Hospital & JMH Women’s Services (Miami, Florida). (Also in the top 50 in the U.S. News & World Report rankings. Bonus fact: They are affiliated with Jackson Memorial Hospital, where lesbian mom Lisa Pond was denied access to her children and partner as she lay dying—an incident that helped motivate President Obama to issue new rules requiring hospitals that receive federal funding to allow visitation by same-sex partners. Seems like the hospital has indeed improved its policies.)
- Lindbergh Women and Children’s Center (Atlanta, Georgia)
- Penobscot Pediatrics (Bangor, Maine)
- Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital (Cleveland, Ohio) (The rainbows in this case being coincidental, not LGBT specific.)
The HEI measures hospitals based on non-discrimination policies for patients and employees; explicit visitation rights for both same-sex partners and same-sex parents; and training in LGBT patient-centered care for key staff members. It is based on a voluntary survey completed by hospital staff.
Does this mean that these hospitals are best for your children? Of course not—that’s largely a matter of medical needs. Also, since the HEI is a voluntary survey, there are probably many other facilities out there that are also welcoming to LGBT families. Not only that, but regulations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and The Joint Commission, the largest accrediting body for U.S. hospitals, now require most hospitals to protect LGBT people’s visitation rights and have non-discrimination protection for LGBT patients, respectively. Still, it is extra satisfying when a hospital makes such requirements explicit in its own policies, and adds staff training on LGBT issues.
It is also simply heartening to know that many health care institutions are taking the needs of LGBT people and our families seriously. James Page, Cincinnati Children’s assistant vice president in the Office of Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Competence, said in a statement for the HEI titled “Creating an Extraordinary Healthcare Experience for LGBT Parents and Children”:
When it comes to healthcare, we recognize that LGBT individuals have unique needs, especially in a
pediatric setting. The Cincinnati Children’s team is sensitive to the devastating impact that bullying and
social isolation can have on out and questioning teens, leading them to make drastic decisions about
their safety and well-being. As a children’s hospital, it is important to us that we provide an environment
in which both patients and parents that identify as LGBT feel welcomed, comfortable and respected. But
it is essential that we do even more, that we serve as allies to our questioning patients as they navigate
potentially challenging changes in their lives.
Cincinnati Children’s recognizes the fundamental need of having a workforce as diverse as the patients
we serve. Our LGBT employee resource group, EQUAL, our commitment to domestic partner benefits
and many other programs contribute to making our organization an exceptional place to work for our
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.
LGBT patients, families and employees are an essential part of the fabric that is Cincinnati Children’s.
Join us on our journey to become the preferred pediatric destination for LGBT patients, their families
and the community.
All parents hope our children are never seriously sick or injured. If they are, however, we all hope for care that gives them not only technical medical excellence, but also the kind of individual respect and attention Page describes.
For those of you with a deeper interest in LGBT healthcare issues, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released its annual LGBT report today, too.