Report: Most N.C. hospitals still lack specific LGBT patient, employee protections

Human Rights Campaign names Duke University and Durham Regional Hospitals among 234 'Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality'

CHARLOTTE — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, has released its annual list and ratings of LGBT-friendly hospitals. The group’s 2012 Healthcare Equality Index includes ratings of hundreds of hospitals across the country, including 15 in North Carolina and 8 in South Carolina.

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Among the nearly two dozen Carolinas hospitals surveyed, the Durham, N.C.-based Duke University Hospital and Durham Regional Hospital were named “Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality.” The two Durham hospitals were the only two medical institutions in the state to answer affirmatively to all of the index’s four criteria which include LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination employment and patient policies, visitation policies and inclusivity training for staff. Seven of the eight South Carolina hospitals received the same “Leader” honor.

In addition to Duke University and Durham Regional, Carolinas hospitals opting in to the survey this year included several affiliated properties of the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Novant Health (Forsyth Medical Center and Charlotte’s Presbyterian Hospital, among others), UNC Health Care and several hospitals in the Greensboro, N.C.-based Moses Cone Health System and the Greenville, S.C.-based University Medical Center and Greenville Hospital System. (See the full list of Carolinas hospitals and Healthcare Equality Index criteria at the end of this story.)

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The ratings for the national index, which has been administered since 2007, are based on voluntary surveys submitted directly by each medical institution’s staff.

More hospitals in the Carolinas opted to participate this year than in years past. Last year, only 13 North Carolina hospitals and just six South Carolina hospitals participated. Despite the increase in North Carolina hospitals’ participation, their results remain relatively unchanged with most failing to provide a same-sex partner visitation policy, transgender-inclusive employment non-discrimination policies and trainings for staff on LGBT patient-centered care.

Despite the lack of clearly-defined protections at the hospital level, patients’ visitation rights in North Carolina are protected by a statewide Patients’ Bill of Rights. Additionally, federal regulations since 2010 have required hospitals receiving Medicare or Medicaid funding to protect all patients’ visitation rights. HRC’s index requires hospitals to have clearly-defined and LGBT-inclusive visitation policies.

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qnotes previously reported on North Carolina hospitals’ seemingly inadequate LGBT inclusion after the release of the 2010 Healthcare Equality Index.

As in years past, the Carolinas’ largest medical system, the Charlotte-based Carolinas HealthCare System, did not participate in the HRC study this year.

The full HRC Healthcare Equality Index report can be viewed online at hrc.org/hei and downloaded as a PDF.

HRC HEI CRITERIA
Facility Name 1a 1b 2a 2b 3a 3b 4
NORTH CAROLINA
UNC Health Care Y Y N N Y N N
Duke University Hospital Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Durham Regional Hospital Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Moses Cone Behavioral Health Center N N N N Y N N
Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital N N N N Y N N
Wesley Long Community Hospital N N N N Y N N
Women’s Hospital of Greensboro N N N N Y N N
Annie Penn Hospital N N N N Y N N
Brunswick Community Hospital Y Y N N Y N N
Forsyth Medical Center Y Y N N Y N N
Franklin Regional Health System Y Y N N Y N N
Presbyterian Healthcare Y Y N N Y N N
Prince William Health System Y Y N N Y N N
Rowan Regional Medical Center Y Y N N Y N N
Thomasville Medical Center Y Y N N Y N N
SOUTH CAROLINA
Bon Secours St. Francis Downtown Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Bon Secours St. Francis Eastside Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
University Medical Center Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Patewood Medical Campus Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Greer Memorial Hospital Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Hillcrest Memorial Hospital Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
North Greenville Medical Campus Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Upstate Carolina Center Y Y N N Y N N

1aPatient non-discrimination policy (or patients’ bill of rights) is publicly available and includes the term “sexual orientation”
1b Patient non-discrimination policy (or patients’ bill of rights) is publicly available and includes the term “gender identity”
2a Visitation policy explicitly grants same-sex couples (partners/spouses/significant others) the same access as different-sex couples
2b Visitation policy explicitly grants same-sex parents the same access as different-sex parents for visitation of their minor children
3a Employment non-discrimination policy (or equal employment opportunity policy) includes the term “sexual orientation”
3b Employment non-discrimination policy (or equal employment opportunity policy) includes the term “gender identity”
4 Provides training for key staff members in LGBT patient-centered care

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.