UW News

July 11, 2013

Health facilities earn inclusion in Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s U.S. index

UW Medicine Newsroom

UW Medicine’s four hospitals and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance are leaders in respecting healthcare equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, according to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

Harborview Medical Center, UW Medical Center, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, Valley Medical Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance each met criteria for inclusion in the 2013 Healthcare Equality Index, a nationwide analysis. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is a consortium comprising UW Medicine, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Children’s.

SCCA at Pride Parade

A group from Seattle Cancer Care Alliance gathers for Seattle’s Pride Parade on June 30.

“Our hospitals take pride in creating a welcoming environment and providing inclusive care to all patients and families,” said Johnese Spisso, chief health system officer, UW Medicine, and UW vice president for medical affairs. “We are proud to demonstrate UW Medicine’s commitment to equal access for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community members.”

This year, 464 facilities nationwide, nearly double last year’s total of 234, met the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s survey criteria in four core areas of policy and training:

  • Equal patient access to care
  • Equal visitation access for same-sex partners and parents
  • Equal access to employment
  • Completion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health education by key hospital staff

“These kinds of indices are useful in that they allow you to see the standard of care in our country, so you can meet or exceed it,” said Dr. Shilpen Patel, a UW Medicine radiation oncologist and secretary to the board of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation. He also just finished a six-year term on the board of Equal Rights Washington.

“I’m a cancer doctor,” he said. “It’s very difficult for patients to get through care without their support network. Families in the LGBT community come in different shapes, and when patients aren’t afraid to bring in their spouse or partner or their kids, it’s a healthier experience for everyone. This is us delivering the patient-centered care that we talk about.”