CHICAGO — For the ninth consecutive year, Rush University Medical Center has been designated a "Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality" in the Healthcare Equality Index, an annual survey of how health care facilities in the United States treat lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning patients and their families, as well as their own LGBTQ employees. The report on the 2017 survey was released today.
The Medical Center has been named a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality in every year that the HEI formally has recognized health care institutions. The Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) is administered annually by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the HRC, the largest LGBTQ organization in the United States, and is intended to encourage equal care of LGBTQ patients.
Medical Center, Rush Oak Park Hospital meet raised standards
Rush University Medical Center and its partner institution, Rush Oak Park Hospital (Oak Park, Illinois), are among a select group of 302 health care facilities nationwide to be named a leader in the report, which rated about 1,500 health care facilities in all. The Medical Center met all of the criteria of the HEI survey, as it has for each of the nine years that it has participated in the survey. Rush Oak Park Hospital also met all the criteria again in its fourth consecutive year as an LGBTQ leader.
This year’s HEI survey criteria were more stringent than in the past, and Rush in turn furthered its LGBTQ efforts. For the first time ever, HEI participants were given scores in four criteria that represent how many policies and best practices they have implemented from each section: foundational elements of LGBTQ patient-centered care; LGBTQ patient services and support; employee benefits and policies; and LGBTQ patient and community engagement. Participants that received the maximum score in each section for a total score of 100 points earned the coveted status of 2017 Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality.
“Rush is deeply committed to a culture of respect, inclusion and equal treatment of all our patients, employees and students, regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation or sexual identity,” said Dr. Larry Goodman, Rush CEO. “This commitment is an essential part of our mission to provide the very best health care for the individuals and diverse communities we serve.
“That the Medical Center and Rush Oak Park Hospital again have received Leader in LGBT Health Equality even as the HEI raised its standards for this designation is an important confirmation that we are fulfilling that commitment.”
LGBTQ commitment includes transgender health benefits, social workers
Rush’s commitment to a welcoming environment for LGBTQ patients, students, employees and visitors includes the 2014 creation of the LGBTQ Leadership Council (formerly the LGBTQ Health Committee) of Rush’s Diversity Leadership Council, which provides guidance to Rush University Medical Center, Rush University and Rush Oak Park Hospital about diversity issues and initiates events throughout the year to promote diversity.
Due in part to the council’s efforts, at the beginning of 2016 Rush became the first health system in the state of Illinois to offer comprehensive transgender health benefits to employees and students alike. In addition, in 2016, Rush University Medical Center implemented the following LGBTQ initiatives:
- Dedicating two clinical social workers to assisting employees, students and patients with any LGBTQ needs
- Development of a comprehensive LGBTQ policy statement detailing Rush’s commitment to the LGBTQ community
- A dedicated LGBTQ section on the Medical Center’s website
- Incorporating entries for sexual orientation and gender identity into the electronic medical records system used at the Medical Center and Rush Oak Park Hospital, and providing training in the entry and use of this patient information
- Development of an institutional LGBTQ logo, which was displayed on more than 2,000 lapel pins distributed to individuals at the Medical Center and a banner carried by Rush participants in Chicago’s annual LGBT Pride Parade
“It is very exciting to see that Rush is once again at the forefront for LGBTQ inclusivity in the health care space. This year the survey was much more robust, and to continue to be a leader we had to commit to doing more, and many individuals throughout the system worked to achieve this important designation.” says Christopher Nolan, manager, community benefit and population health and chairperson of the Rush LGBTQ Leadership Council.
“Rush has clearly made a point to let all of our community members — employees, students, and patients alike — know that not only is everyone welcome here, but that Rush is truly committed to a diverse and inclusive culture and equity for the LGBTQ community. I am especially proud in a time when this commitment means more than ever before”
Rush is an academic health system whose mission is to improve the health of the patients and the diverse communities it serves with nationally recognized health care, education, research and a commitment to community partnerships. The Rush system comprises Rush University Medical Center (including Rush University), Rush-Copley Medical Center and Rush Oak Park Hospital, as well as numerous outpatient care facilities. Rush University, with more than 2,500 students, is a health sciences university that comprises Rush Medical College, the College of Nursing, the College of Health Sciences and the Graduate College.
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