UI Health Named ‘LGBTQ Health Care Equality Top Performer’

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The University of Illinois Hospital & Clinics has again been nationally recognized for its inclusive healthcare and policies related to LGBTQ patients, visitors, and staff. 

UI Health was named a "LGBTQ Health Care Equality Top Performer" by the Human Rights Campaign's 2020 Health Equality Index (HEI), an annual survey that evaluates health systems on key criteria for non-discrimination policies and practices. This is the seventh year UI Health has been recognized by the HEI program. 

Every year, the Human Right Campaign (HRC) recognizes the healthcare facilities that participate in the HEI for their dedication and commitment to LGBTQ inclusion. As the final HEI surveys were submitted in March, healthcare facilities were kicking into overdrive to meet the challenges of COVID-19. Many faced a lack of equipment, staffing shortages, and surging demand. Two months later, as the fight against COVID-19 continued, the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police officers thrust America's structural racism into the spotlight. HEI participants issued strong statements on racial justice and equity, participated in White Coats for Black Lives demonstrations and announced new programs to address racial inequities in their institutions and their communities.

A record 765 healthcare facilities actively participated in the HEI 2020 survey. Of those included in the HEI, 193 earned an "LGBTQ Health Care Equality Top Performer" designation. With 90% of participating facilities meeting this designation, healthcare facilities are demonstrating concretely that they are going beyond the basics when it comes to adopting policies and practices in LGBTQ care. 

The remarkable progress reflected in the 2020 HEI includes:  

  • 92% of participants met the HEI's training requirements, completing more than 150,000 hours of staff training in LGBTQ patient-centered care. 
  • 99% of HEI participants documented that they include both "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" in their patient non-discrimination policy. 
  • 99% of HEI participants documented that they include both "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" in their employment nondiscrimination policy.  
  • 53% of HEI participants indicated that their facility has a policy or policies that specifically outline procedures and practices aimed at eliminating bias and insensitivity, and ensuring appropriate, welcoming interactions with transgender patients. 
  • After many years of trailing their corporate counterparts in the provision of transgender-inclusive health care benefits for employees, HEI participating healthcare facilities are nearly on par with the HRC Foundation's Corporate Equality Index (CEI) participants as 80% have at least one health care plan that offered this benefit. The latest CEI noted 85% of participants having such benefits. 

Overall, the HRC's "LGBTQ Health Care Equality" designations allow health facilities to affirm they comply with federal standards on LGBTQ healthcare equity and are committed to LGBTQ-inclusive, patient-centered care.