Salutes & Awards

May 4, 2018

VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System designated ‘2018 LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader’

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has designated the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System as a “2018 LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader” in their 11th edition of the Healthcare Equality Index.

A record 626 healthcare facilities actively participated in the HEI 2018 survey, with HRC Foundation proactively researching key policies at more than 900 additional non-participating hospitals. Of those included in the HEI, 418, including the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, earned a “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation.

“The VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System is honored to be selected as a LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader for the second year in a row,” said Peggy Kearns, VASNHS director. “We are committed to providing a welcoming health and work environment for LGBTQ Veterans and employees at our facilities, and this recognition is an example of our determination to meet the highest standards possible while delivering care to all our nation’s heroes.”

“The 626 participants in this year’s HEI continue this march in partnership with the LGBTQ community and we commend them for their leadership,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “For over a decade, the HEI has been the roadmap to closing the gap in ensuring equal care to LGBTQ patients and their families, and we urge every healthcare facility to join us in this continuing effort to provide inclusive care to all.”

The 11th edition of the HEI [] marks the second year that participants are given a numerical score based on their LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices. HEI participants are given scores in four criteria: foundational elements of LGBTQ patient-centered care, LGBTQ Patient Services and Support, Employee Benefits and Policies and LGBTQ Patient and Community Engagement. Participants that receive the maximum score in each section earn the coveted status of “2018 LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader.”

In the 2018 report, an impressive 418 facilities earned HRC’s “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation with a score of 100. Another 95 facilities earned the “Top Performer” designation for scoring from 80 to 95 points. With 82 percent of participating facilities scoring 80 points or more, healthcare facilities are going beyond the basics when it comes to adopting policies and practices in LGBTQ care.

Of the hospitals who did not participate in the HEI but were scored based on research, only 63 percent have patient non-discrimination policies that include both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” and only 53 percent were found to have an LGBTQ-inclusive employment non-discrimination policy. The equal visitation policy, at 93 percent, is the only one that comes close to matching the rate of the participating facilities.

“Our Veterans Affairs facilities in Las Vegas and Reno are the only two health care facilities in the State of Nevada to receive the LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader status,” said U.S. Congresswoman Dina Titus who partnered with VASNHS to achieve the HEI designation. “I am proud of their efforts to provide inclusive care to all and create an equitable and welcoming environment for LGBTQ Veterans, their families, and employees. My hope is that in the future we will see more health care facilities in Nevada follow the VA’s example and adopt or improve their LGBTQ policies and practices.”

Information on local VA resources for LGBTQ Veterans and Employees is available at

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