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UCSF Medical Center Earns Perfect Score for Health Care Equality

June 19, 2012
News Office: Karin Rush-Monroe (415) 502-6397

UCSF Medical Center today became the only institution in the United States to receive a perfect score on the national LGBT Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) for five consecutive years.

The HEI annually invites health care facilities nationwide to rate themselves on providing equitable, inclusive care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) patients and their families. The criteria call for health care facilities to have LGBT nondiscrimination policies that cover patients and employees, to provide equal hospital visitation access for same-sex partners and parents, and to offer LGBT health education for staff.

Unique among U.S. health care facilities, UCSF Medical Center has met, in fact, exceeded, all of these criteria since the HEI was created in 2007 by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBT civil rights organization, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. The medical center also received a perfect score in the first "beta test" of the HEI six years ago.

Commitment to Meeting the Need

"Providing equal treatment to each and every patient is central to delivering the safest possible care. All patients need to feel free to share their stories and trust their health care providers. If not, we won't understand factors in their lives that may contribute to the quality of their care," said Mark Laret, chief executive officer of UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. "I'm pleased that more hospitals are stepping up in their commitment to meeting the needs of LGBT patients and their families. It's simply the right thing to do."

The HEI 2012 saw a 40 percent increase in participating facilities — and a striking 162 percent increase in facilities that achieved the status of "Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality — by meeting key criteria. For the first time, the HEI required participating facilities to document that at least five high-level managers in key work areas had received expert training in LGBT health needs, and 67 percent of facilities met this test.

With a record-breaking 407 facilities rated, the HEI 2012 designated 234 of them, or 57 percent, as "leaders."

"I commend the LGBT and healthcare communities for the progress made and I am proud to be part of an administration that has a historic record of accomplishment for the LGBT community," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. "We will continue to take action to ensure that LGBT Americans get equal treatment in healthcare settings and that all patients are treated with the dignity they deserve."

Long Tradition in Equal Care

UCSF's LGBT-inclusive policies, practices, and training long predate the HEI. In 2004, for example, UCSF Medical Center implemented a groundbreaking Inclusive Language Policy that is featured in the prestigious Health Care Innovations Exchange of the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. UCSF Medical Center also has long provided equal visitation rights for patients' same-sex partners.

Shane Snowdon, director of UCSF's Center for LGBT Health and Equity, has worked with the UCSF Medical Center since 1999 to ensure that UCSF provides the best possible care to LGBT patients and their families.

"The UCSF Medical Center has been 100 percent committed to the HEI and to LGBT patient-centered care in general. It's no wonder that UCSF is the only medical center in the nation to have received a perfect score every year of the HEI, and as we celebrate Pride Month in the Bay Area, the UCSF Medical Center has much to be proud of,"said Snowdon, who recently was recognized at UCSF for her efforts with the Chancellor's Award for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Leadership.

This month, the University of California (UC) named a task force to examine and implement strategies for creating more welcoming and inclusive campus environments across the 10-campus UC system for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, faculty and staff. Barbara J. French, UCSF vice chancellor for Strategic Communications and University Relations, and Ralph Hexter, UC Davis provost and executive vice chancellor, are co-chairing the task force.

According to the HEI report, even among HEI 2012 participants, about 25 percent do not explicitly protect the visitation rights of same-sex partners and parents, and about 25 percent do not explicitly include gender identity in their patient and employee nondiscrimination policies. Moreover, in 18 states no health care facility chose to participate in the HEI 2012, leaving LGBT residents without a documented source of equitable and inclusive care. The full HEI report is

About UCSF Medical Center

UCSF Medical Center consistently ranks as one of the top 10 hospitals in the United States. Recognized for innovative treatments, advanced technology, collaboration among health care professionals and scientists, and a highly compassionate patient care team, UCSF Medical Center serves as the academic medical center of the University of California, San Francisco. The medical center's nationally preeminent programs include children's health, the brain and nervous system, organ transplantation, women's health and cancer. It operates as a self-supporting enterprise within UCSF and generates its own revenues to cover the operating costs of providing patient care.

Follow UCSF Medical Center on www.facebook.com/UCSFMedicalCenter or on Twitter @UCSFHospitals.

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