The Human Rights Campaign unveiled its national index of LGBTQ inclusive healthcare providers in Columbus on Friday. Ohio had 15 providers receive perfect scores.
The annual Health Equality Index rates 680 facilities throughout the country on how they train staff, serve patients and support their own employees in the LBGTQ community. A total of 406 facilities received a perfect score.
In Central Ohio, Columbus Public Health Department, Dublin Methodist Hospital, Doctors Hospital, Equitas Health, Grant Medical Center, Ohio State's James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute and Wexner Medical Center, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Riverside Methodist Hospital and the Veterans Affairs hospitals in Chillicothe and Columbus received perfect scores.
HRC president Alphonso David says the index gives providers a model of inclusion they can strive toward. He notes often when people seek medical treatment they're already in pain.
"To face rejection, to face discrimination, to face bias when you're also facing pain,” he says. “It just exacerbates your fear. It exacerbates the pain. It exacerbates the concern that you have.”
Melissa McLaren is mom to identical twins, one of whom is a trans girl named Conner. She says Nationwide Childrens Hospital's Thrive program is a model for inclusive care.
"The staff at the Thrive program have always made us feel that we were partners in Conner's care,” McLaren says. “They have celebrated with us, advocated for us, and have worked with us to provide Conner with the tools she needs to be a happy and healthy teenage girl. And we know that if harder times come, we have a medical team there to support us."
They got a chance to see that recently. Conner is clambering around on crutches for a while after surgery for a field hockey injury. Melissa says unexpected medical visits like Conner’s ratched up an already tense situation with concerns about whether her identity will be embraced.
“I am so happy to be able to tell you that our daughter was validated for her identity from the moment we arrived, to our discharge several days later,” McLaren said. “She was treated like a 14-year-old girl with an orthopedic emergency.”
Speaking at Equitas Health, HRC’s Tari Hanneman explains the facility represents the type of facility that promotes inclusivity.
“Those 10 facilities really represent the diversity of health care facilities that participate in the HEI,” she explains. “The HEI was started initially with a focus on hospitals, however in the 12 years we’ve been around we’ve really broadened that.”
Ohio’s only other perfect marks came from VA facilities in Cincinnati and Cleveland and the University of Toledo Medical Center.