UW Health has been designated a “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization.

The designation was reported in the 11th edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), reflecting on the progress in LGBTQ healthcare.

“American Family Children’s Hospital, UW Hospital and Clinics and UW Health at The American Center were granted leader status,” said Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, chief diversity officer for UW Health, in a statement. “We are honored by the recognition. We strive every day to provide inclusive care for our LGBTQ patients and families.”

UW Health is one of only two providers with hospitals in south-central Wisconsin to receive this designation.

For the second year, participants were given a numerical score based on their policies and practices. The HEI participants were assessed on four criteria: LGBTQ Patient-Centered Care, LGBTQ Patient Services and Support, Employee Benefits and Policies, and LGBTQ Patient and Community Engagement. In 2018, 418 facilities received the maximum score in each section and earned an overall score of 100.

“Diversity and inclusion are critical to UW Health’s mission,” said UW Health CEO Dr. Alan Kaplan said in a statement. “We are committed to being a compassionate healthcare organization and to be recognized again is an honor.”

A record 626 health-care facilities took part in the HEI 2018 survey. The HRC Foundation also proactively researched key policies at more than 900 non-participating hospitals.

“These top-scoring facilities are not only establishing policies that save LGBTQ lives every day, they have become vocal advocates for equality in the public square. This year, we are heartened to see corporate champions, including many health-care systems, not just speaking out, but also doubling down on their commitment to equality,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.

Some key highlights from the 2018 report include:

*59 percent increase in hospitals that have written gender-transition guidelines;
*42 percent increase in hospitals that offer trans-inclusive benefits;
*21 percent increase in the number of participants that have transgender-specific policies;
*63 percent increase in training hours recorded – clocking in at more than 70,000 hours of LGBTQ care training provided.

Written by Madison365 staff