Rush Again Leads in LGBTQ Health Equality

Saturday, April 7, 2018

CHICAGO — For the 10th consecutive year, Rush University Medical Center has been designated a “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” in the Healthcare Equality Index, an annual survey of how health care facilities in the United States treat lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning patients and their families, as well as their own LGBTQ employees. Rush Oak Park Hospital received its fifth consecutive designation as an LGBTQ leader. The report on the 2018 survey was released March 27.

The Medical Center has been named a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality in every year that the Healthcare Equality Index formally has recognized health care institutions. The HEI is administered annually by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the HRC, the largest LGBTQ organization in the United States, and is intended to encourage equal care of LGBTQ patients.

The Rush hospitals are among a select group of 418 health care facilities nationwide to be named leaders in the report, which evaluated more than 1,500 health care facilities in all.

HEI participants again were given scores in four criteria that represent how many policies and best practices they have implemented from each section: LGBTQ patient-centered care; LGBTQ patient services and support; employee benefits and policies; and LGBTQ patient and community engagement. The hospitals received the maximum score in each section, for a total score of 100 points, to earn the coveted status of 2018 Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality.

“We are proud to see Rush University Medical Center and Rush Oak Park Hospital again recognized for leading the cause of LGBTQ health care equality,” said Christopher Nolan, MPA, manager of community benefits and population health, and co-chair of Rush’s LGBTQ Leadership Council. “This honor reflects the commitment of our senior leaders and our LGBTQ Leadership Council to making Rush a place that welcomes and respects membersof the LGBTQ community and recognizes and meets their unique needs. Rush’s efforts in this area make a tangible, beneficial difference in the lives and health of our LGBTQ patients, employees and students.”

“It’s a pleasure and privilege to lead these efforts and connect to our Rush strategies in the areas of LGBTQ excellence for our patients, employees, students, and community,” said Brandy Hatcher, MSN, RN, Rush University Senior Care manager and co-chair of the Rush LGBTQ Leadership Council. 

LGBTQ commitment includes transgender health benefits, social workers

Rush’s commitment to a welcoming environment for LGBTQ patients, students, employees and visitors includes the 2014 creation of the LGBTQ Leadership Council of Rush’s Diversity Leadership Council, which provides guidance to Rush University Medical Center, Rush University and Rush Oak Park Hospital about diversity issues and initiates events throughout the year to promote diversity.

Due in part to the council’s efforts, at the beginning of 2016 Rush became the first health system in the state of Illinois to offer comprehensive transgender health benefits to employees and students alike. In addition, Rush University Medical Center has implemented the following LGBTQ initiatives:

  • Dedicating two clinical social workers to assisting employees, students and patients with any LGBTQ needs
  • Development of a comprehensive LGBTQ policy statement detailing Rush’s commitment to the LGBTQ community
  • dedicated LGBTQ section on the Medical Center’s website 
  • Incorporating entries for sexual orientation and gender identity into the electronic medical records system used at the Medical Center and Rush Oak Park Hospital, and providing training in the entry and use of this patient information
  • Development of an institutional LGBTQ logo, which is displayed on more than 2,000 lapel pins distributed to individuals at the Medical Center and a banner carried by Rush participants in Chicago’s annual LGBT Pride Parade
  • Changing the signage on all public single-occupancy bathrooms on campus to indicate that they are “all-gender” – that is, their use is not designated specifically for either men or women. The signage is intended to be welcoming to people who are transgender or identify as being of non-binary gender (neither specifically/solely male or female).

About Rush

Rush is an academic health system whose mission is to improve the health of the patients and the diverse communities it serves with nationally recognized health care, education, research and a commitment to community partnerships. The Rush system comprises Rush University Medical Center (including Rush University), Rush Copley Medical Center and Rush Oak Park Hospital, as well as numerous outpatient care facilities. Rush University, with more than 2,500 students, is a health sciences university that comprises Rush Medical College, the College of Nursing, the College of Health Sciences and the Graduate College.

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