The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has identified Vanderbilt University Medical Center as a “Leader” in LGBT healthcare equality.

The HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), according to its website, “is a national LGBT benchmarking tool that evaluates healthcare facilities’ policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of their LGBT patients, visitors and employees.”

For the 2016 year, the HEI evaluated a total of 2,061 healthcare facilities nationwide and 44 in Tennessee. For the fifth year in a row, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) has participated and been awarded the “Leader” designation. Just two other Tennessee healthcare facilities are designated HEI Leaders: CHOICES Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, and the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System.

“Our recognition as a leader five years in a row is a clear acknowledgement of the sustained effort we have made as a medical center to both welcome and support our LGBT patients,” said Jesse Ehrenfeld, M.D., MPH, associate professor of Anesthesiology, Biomedical Informatics, Surgery and Health Policy at Vanderbilt in a statement. “Each year we have continued to take additional steps to broaden the services we offer and ensure equal access for our LGBT patients and their families.”

The findings were part of the annual survey that encourages equal care for LGBT Americans by evaluating inclusive policies and practices related to LGBT patients, visitors and employees. Vanderbilt earned top marks in meeting non-discrimination and training criteria that demonstrate its commitment to equitable, inclusive care for LGBT patients and their families, who can face significant challenges in securing quality health care and respect. Read the report here.

The HEI has identified what it calls the Core Four Leader Criteria to evaluate each healthcare facility. Those are:

Patient Non-Discrimination Policies

Patient non-discrimination policy (or patients’ bill of rights) is fully LGBT inclusive by including both the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”

Patient non-discrimination policy is communicated to patients in at least two readily accessible ways and to staff in at least one documented way

Equal Visitation Policies

Visitation policy explicitly grants equal visitation to LGBT patients and their visitors

Equal visitation policy is communicated to patients and visitors in at least two readily accessible ways and to staff in at least one documented way

Employment Non-Discrimination Policies

Employment non-discrimination policy (or equal employment opportunity policy) is fully LGBT inclusive and includes both the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”

Employment non-discrimination policy is communicated to the public in at least one documented way

Training of LGBT-Centered Care

HEI-approved training in LGBT patient-centered care was provided to key staff members

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