VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System earns ‘LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader’ designation

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The VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System has announced their “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader” designation from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

The designation was awarded in the 12th edition of HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index, released Aug. 16.

A record 680 health care facilities actively participated in the HEI 2019 survey, with HRC Foundation proactively researching key policies at 1,000 additional non-participating hospitals. Of those included in the HEI, 406 earned a “LGBTQ health care Equality Leader” designation. This is the third year in a row that VASNHS has earned this honor, and this year it is the only facility in Nevada to earn the distinction.

“At VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of quality health care for our LGBTQ veterans,” said VASNHS Director and CEO William Caron. “It’s an honor to be counted among the best in the nation, and we will continue to strive to meet the growing needs of this valuable demographic of our Veteran population.”

“The health care facilities that participate in HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index are making clear that they stand on the side of fairness and are committed to providing inclusive care to their LGBTQ patients,” said HRC President Alphonso David.  “Going beyond inclusive non-discrimination policies, these health care facilities are adopting best practices in the areas of LGBTQ patient care and support, employee policies and benefits, and LGBTQ patient and community engagement.
We commend all of the HEI participants for their commitment to providing inclusive care for all.”

The 12th edition of the HEI assesses participants on four criteria: Non-Discrimination and Staff Training, Patient Services and Support, Employee Benefits and Policies, and Patient and Community Engagement.

In the 2019 report, an impressive 406 facilities earned HRC’s “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader” designation, receiving the maximum score in each section and earning an overall score of 100. Another 148 facilities earned the “Top Performer” designation for scoring from 80 to 95 points. With 81 percent of participating facilities scoring 80 points or more, health care facilities are demonstrating concretely that they are going beyond the basics when it comes to adopting policies and practices in LGBTQ care.

The remarkable progress reflected in the 2019 HEI includes:
*        Over half of HEI participants now have written gender transition guidelines;
*        Seventy-five percent of hospitals surveyed offer trans-inclusive benefits — an impressive eight percentage point increase over last year, and numbers that bring them on par with their corporate counterparts, as measured by HRC’s 2019 CEI;
*        A 35 percent increase in training hours recorded — clocking in at more than 94,000 hours of LGBTQ care training provided;
*        A 60 percent increase in the number of HEI participants whose electronic health records capture a patient’s sexual orientation, and a 40 percent increase in the number of HEI participants whose electronic health records capture a patient’s gender identity.

Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus began working with VASNHS leadership in 2017 to achieve the goals set forth by the HEI. “There is a rigorous standard that these facilities must meet in order to be considered for this designation,” Titus said. “But it shows that this hospital is accommodating, is well-staffed, and is resourced to provide the best kind of care to LGBTQ Veterans. I am really proud of the job the hospital has done to meet those standards.”