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Does Your Hospital Have LGBT Non-Discrimination Policies?

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Kaiser Permanente in West L.A. was a top performer | Photo by planetc1 via Flickr

Kaiser Permanente in West L.A. was a top performer | Photo by planetc1 via Flickr
Four Los Angeles healthcare facilities earned top ratings when it comes policies for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, according to a Human Rights Campaign report that was released today. But the study found that several local hospitals still do not include policies that deal with gender identity. Now in its fourth year, the Healthcare Equality Index took an interesting turn in 2010, thanks to President Barack Obama's direction to Health and Human Services to make rules that require all hospitals that receive federal Medicare and Medicaid funding to protect the visitation and healthcare decision-making rights of LGBT people. At the same time, the organization that accredits hospitals, the Joint Commission, has announced a new, fully inclusive patient non-discrimination standards as part of their accreditation process.

Kaiser Permanente's network of 36 hospitals, three of which in Los Angeles were noted in the report, received the highest markings. They have non-discriination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity, visitation for partners and parents, LGBT training for staff, and employment non-discrimination policies falling under sexual orientation and gender identity.

The fourth facility to earn top rankings was the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, as the report included clinics. LAC/USC Medical Center came to close, but did not have a gender identity, visitation or employment non-discrimiation policies.

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A handful of hospitals that did not provide voluntary data to the campaign included San Pedro Peninsula Hospital, UCLA Medical Center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Huntington Memorial Hospital. Accordingly, researchers could only look into patient non-discrimation policies. All but Loma Linda carried sexual orientation polices, but none had gender identity ones.

Of the 178 hospitals that did voluntarily submitted surveys to the campaign nationwide, only eight hospitals, three clinics and the Kaiser network came out as top performers (see all results, separated by state here).

"We want to get the message out that we have many years worth of work on this these policies and we stand ready to assist hospitals and hospital networks to establish policies," explained Tom Sullivan, the Deputy Director of the campaign's family project, to LAist. "You don't have to reinvent the wheel, we have the models."

“Healthcare that is free of prejudice is a fundamental human value, and a fundamental value Los Angeles residents share,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the HRC Foundation. "While many LGBT people may indeed have a positive experience in these hospitals, we believe that the standard for equality must be policies that are put in writing and carried out in practice. We urge all healthcare facilities to move toward greater inclusiveness, because sooner rather than later, that’s where America is headed.”