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Thursday, June 30, 2011

LGBT Equality: Bay Area Hospitals Are Leading the Country

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Human Rights Commissioner Cecilia Chung stars in the video on LGBT healthcare equality.
  • Human Rights Commissioner Cecilia Chung stars in the video on LGBT healthcare equality.

Here is some good news coming on the heels of Gay Pride: Hospitals in the Bay Area -- San Francisco in particular -- are way ahead of the curve when it comes to how they treat LGBT patients, according to a Human Rights Campaign survey results released today.

A full 23 of the 27 facilities nationwide that HRC designated "Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality" are located in the Bay Area. That includes 19 facilities within Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco General Hospital, and UCSF Medical Center.

To be designated a "leader," the healthcare facilities had to score a perfect rating on a voluntary survey that accessed hospital policies, such as:

  • whether they have specific nondiscrimination policies for LGBT patients and employees
  • whether they have equal visitation rights for same-sex couples and parents
  • whether the hospitals provide LGBT cultural competency training for all staff.

The results are compiled in the Healthcare Equality Index 2011, which

surveyed 87 respondents across the country, representing a total of 375

facilities. The index results had some interesting findings. While 90

percent of the locations had sexual orientation in a Patient's Bill of

Rights and/or a non-discrimination policy, only 60 percent included

gender identity in those policies.

Additionally, only 49 percent

of the facilities surveyed have an explicitly inclusive patient

visitation policy for same-sex couples, and only 52 percent had one for

same-sex parents. At the request of President Obama,

the Department of Health and Human Services handed down rules to any

facility that receives federal Medicare and Medicaide funding to have

LGBT inclusive visitation policies.

The HRC produced a video on inequalities in healthcare starring San Francisco Human Rights commissioner Cecilia Chung. Chung says that when she was transitioning to become a woman she had intense abdominal pain, but an emergency room -- she didn't specify which one-- dismissed her as a "drama queen" and had her escorted out by a security guard. When the pain got worse, she returned to the same hospital's emergency room, and was diagnosed with gangrene.

"If I hadn't gone into the emergency room at the

11th hour i would have died," she says. 

Photo: Human Rights Campaign

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Lauren Smiley


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