Long Beach – St. Mary Medical Center has been recognized as an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Top Performer by the Human Rights Campaign which is the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ organization.
The HEI is the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey of healthcare facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees.
“We are honored to be recognized by the Human Rights Campaign for our dedicated work with the LGBTQ+ community,” states Paul Lovely, Director of the CARE Center at St. Mary Medical Center. “We have a legacy of responding with urgency to the AIDS epidemic, supporting LGBTQ+ causes, expanding services for these patients, and are deeply committed to equity and inclusion in order to provide everyone with a welcoming and safe environment to receive care.”
The HEI evaluates and scores healthcare facilities on detailed criteria falling under four central pillars:
- Foundational Policies and Training in LGBTQ+ Patient-Centered Care;
- LGBTQ+ Patient Services and Support;
- Employee Benefits and Policies; and,
- Patient and Community Engagement.
LGBTQ+ patients have historically faced significant and long standing challenges to accessing the care they need, and St. Mary Medical Center as well as the Care Center are committed to providing welcoming, compassionate care for LGBTQ+ patients and their families. The CARE Center at St. Mary was founded at the start of the AIDS crisis in 1986 to support people living with HIV and others directly impacted by the virus.
“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.”
St. Mary Medical Center is one of dozens of Dignity Health care sites recognized in the 2022 HEI. As part of the HEI survey process, St. Mary worked with a nationally recognized LGBTQ+ health expert to undertake a comprehensive review of LGBTQ+ care policies and practices within the organization. St. Mary updated dozens of policies to support LGBTQ+ health care outcomes, 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 – to name just a few examples.
For more information about St. Mary’s commitment to LGBTQ+ care, visit www.dignityhealth.org/lgbtqcare.
About Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center
Founded as a faith-based hospital in 1923 by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center is a 389-bed, acute care, nonprofit hospital located in Long Beach, California. The hospital offers a full complement of services, including a Level II trauma center, cardiac and vascular center, surgical weight loss, maternity and the CARE Center, which is a recognized PrEP center of excellence. The hospital shares a legacy of humankindness with Dignity Health, one of the largest health care systems. Visit dignityhealth.org/stmarymedical for more information.