One Equal World

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Earns “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” Rating

Posted on: April 12, 2016

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center has just made history as the first American Armed Forces hospital to earn a “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” rating from the Human Rights Campaign.

HRC, the massive civil rights advocacy group, issues an annual report called the Healthcare Equality Index which lists the health care and employment policies of medical centers nationwide as they are related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender health and treatment. In 2016, they listed 496 hospitals as leaders. A few of the benchmarks are nondiscrimination employee clauses, equal visitation rights, and employee training in LGBT patient care.

Five years ago, not a single military or VA installation was on the Index due to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that barred queer people from serving openly. (Trans people, however, still find themselves mostly unprotected). This year, 99 VA medical centers were designated ‘LGBT-friendly’ along with WRB.

While the HRC’s Index is not a perfect rubric (being rather heavy on the G in LGBT and putting a low priority on all other configurations), it’s still heartening to see hospitals in unprecedented numbers committing to more inclusive policies for patients and employees alike. It’s one more step on the path to making health care accessible to all.

High points of the Index:
-An unofficial review of hospitals found that more than 50% of medical centers nationwide have nondiscrimination policies that include sexuality and gender identity.
-93% of the 2,000 hospitals officially surveyed have equal visitation policies.
-46 states (All but Alaska, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Wyoming) have medical centers that qualified as Leaders.

 

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