April 14, 2022
Virginia Mason Franciscan Health’s Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, has been recognized as an “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2022 Healthcare Equality Index (HEI). The award recognizes the facility for its dedication to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees.
“The LGBTQ+ community has historically faced significant and longstanding challenges to accessing the care they need,” said Katerie Chapman, president, Virginia Mason Medical Center. “As part of our responsibility to provide inclusive care to all we serve, we are committed to providing welcoming, compassionate care for our LGBTQ+ patients and their families.”
As part of the HEI process, Virginia Mason Medical Center worked with a nationally recognized LGBTQ+ health expert to undertake a comprehensive review of LGBTQ+ care policies and practices within the organization. Virginia Mason Medical Center’s national parent company, CommonSpirit Health, updated dozens of new policies to support LGBTQ+ health care outcomes. They expanded training for staff and clinicians, updated patient forms and IT processes to better capture preferred pronouns and solicit feedback from LGBTQ+ patients, created the role of an LGBTQ+ patient advocate and clarified wording in employee benefits to be explicitly inclusive of LGBTQ+ employees.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation developed the HEI to meet a deep and urgent need on the part of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans: the need for equitable, knowledgeable, sensitive, and welcoming health care, free from discrimination. The Index evaluates and scores health care facilities on detailed criteria falling under four central pillars:
To earn the “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation, facilities like Virginia Mason Medical Center must receive the maximum score in each section, earning an overall score of 100.
“Every person deserves to have access to quality healthcare, be respected and heard by their doctor, and feel safe in the facility where they are receiving care. But LGBTQ+ people are often subject to discrimination in all spaces, including healthcare facilities, which leads to members of the community avoiding care and anticipating our voices will not be respected in an incredibly vulnerable environment,” said Tari Hanneman, director of health & aging at The Human Rights Campaign. “The Healthcare Equality Index, at its core, strives to ensure LGBTQ+ people are protected and affirmed by their healthcare providers and feel safe seeking services. Our HEI active participants are truly pioneering the healthcare industry by implementing robust, comprehensive LGBTQ+ inclusive policies that hopefully, because of their work, will become standard practice.”
In the 2022 report, 496 facilities earned HRC’s “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation. Virginia Mason Medical Center is one of dozens of CommonSpirit Health care sites recognized in the 2022 HEI.
About Virginia Mason Franciscan Health
Virginia Mason Franciscan Health is a world-class health system serving the Puget Sound region of Washington state, offering access to some of the country’s most prestigious experts and hospitals that are internationally recognized for superior quality. Our expansive system builds upon the strength of our more than 300 sites of care, including 11 top-tier hospitals, 18,000 team members and 5,400 employed physicians, advance practice providers (APPs) and community providers to improve the health of our communities. Together, we deliver easily accessible, instantly responsive and digitally connected patient-centric care.
By bringing together the brightest health care minds through Benaroya Research Institute, a global leader in autoimmune disease and immune system research, we deliver the most advanced therapies and technologies for our patients. We are also proud to be the home of Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the United States designed specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS. We are committed to addressing health care disparities by caring for the most vulnerable in our communities, including the poor and underserved, providing more than $300 million in community benefit – free, subsidized, and reduced cost health care and programs.
Our award-winning family of hospitals includes St. Anne Hospital, Burien; St. Anthony Hospital, Gig Harbor; St. Clare Hospital, Lakewood; St. Elizabeth Hospital, Enumclaw; St. Francis Hospital, Federal Way; St. Joseph Medical Center, Tacoma; St. Michael Medical Center, Silverdale and Bremerton; Rehabilitation Hospital, Tacoma; Virginia Mason Hospital, Seattle; and Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital, Tacoma. Learn more at www.vmfh.org.