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UNM Hospitals Named as “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” by National Survey

UNM Hospitals has been recognized as a “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization. A record 680 health care facilities actively participated in this year’s survey, and UNMH is one of 406 earning a top score of 100. UNMH, the only Level I trauma center and teaching hospital in the state, is also the only hospital in New Mexico to receive this designation for the fifth year.

The findings were part of HRC Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index 2019, a unique annual survey that encourages equal care for the LGBTQ community by evaluating inclusive policies and practices related to LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees.

UNM Hospitals earned top marks in meeting all four participant criteria—Non-Discrimination and Staff Training, Patient Services and Support, Employee Benefits and Policies, and Patient and Community Engagement. 

Fabián Armijo, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at UNMH, collaborated with Dr. Cameron Crandall, Associate Vice Chancellor for LGBTQ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the HSC, to research and complete the designation application.

“The application process for the HEI is extensive, and because of that organizations must thoroughly examine current policies and practices,” Armijo says. “After applying and not receiving the designation in 2013, we’ve worked hard to make sure effective training and education opportunities are provided to hospital employees. The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is constantly working toward enhancing patient experiences at UNM Hospitals.”

Pride 2019 - Members of the UNMH LGBT Collaborative, UNM LGBTQ Resource Center, UNM HSC LGBTQ Students and student group Allies in Healthcare
Members of the UNMH LGBT Collaborative, UNM LGBTQ Resource Center, UNM HSC LGBTQ Students and student group Allies in Healthcare at 2019 ABQ Pride

Since 2013, UNMH has partnered with the UNMH LGBTQ Resource Center and the New Mexico Transgender Resource Center to create and expand an in-house, robust training program that highlights non-discrimination and an institutional commitment to equitable, inclusive care for LGBTQ patients, and their families, who can face significant challenges in securing the quality health care and respect they deserve.

Dr. Cameron Crandall co-led a four-year, Health System-wide project which created the ability for UNM Hospitals to collect a patient’s preferred name, pronoun, gender identity and sexual orientation in the electronic medical record.

“Many sexual and gender minority patients delay seeking care, or don’t come in at all, because the healthcare system isn’t seen as friendly to them,” Dr. Crandall says. “UNM Hospitals and the Health Sciences Center are working hard to make our care environment the place in New Mexico for LGBTQ people to seek care.”

Of the 1,000 hospitals that didn’t actively participate in the HEI but were included based on HRC Foundation research, only 67% have patient non-discrimination policies that include both sexual orientation and gender identity, and only 62% were found to have an LGBTQ-inclusive employment non-discrimination policy. The equal visitation policy, in place at 90% of facilities that didn’t actively participate, is the only aspect in which this group comes close to matching the rate of the participating facilities.

“We are committed to ensuring that every patient receives the safest, most effective, most collaborative medical care possible regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other group identity,” Kate Becker, CEO, UNM Hospitals, says. “We are very proud of this designation and will continue to strive for equitable and inclusive care for all of our patients, including our LGBTQ patients, families and team members.”

For more information about the Healthcare Equality Index 2019, or to download a free copy of the report, visit www.hrc.org/hei.

Categories: Top Stories, Patient Care, Community, UNM Hospitals

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