Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center and Twin Cities Community Hospital have earned the “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC).
The designations were awarded in the 12th edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), released earlier this month. A record 680 healthcare facilities actively participated in the HEI 2019 survey, with the HRC Foundation proactively researching key policies at more than 1,000 additional non-participating hospitals. Of those included in the HEI, 406 earned a “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation.
In the 2018 report, Twin Cities became the first and only hospital in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties to earn the designation. Now, Twin Cities and Sierra Vista are the only two hospitals in San Luis Obispo County to receive the designation.
“The HEI Leader designation for both of Tenet Healthcare’s Central Coast hospitals signals to the communities we serve that we are serious about ensuring the care we provide is equitable, in an environment that is welcoming and affirming. We sought this challenging designation not because we had to, but because we wanted to,” said Mark Lisa, the CEO of both hospitals. “In an era of so much violence and hate, separatism and division, we are venues of solace, respite, reason and succor. We want to take a leadership position in San Luis Obispo County in ensuring equality for all in healthcare that is culturally competent and patient-centered to all people regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability or veteran status.”
An important component in achieving the designation was the establishment of a LGBTQ Healthcare Advisory Council, first for Twin Cities in 2016 and then encompassing both hospitals. The council is made up of hospital employees and community members whose mission is to create a respectful and dignified care environment for all patients. In addition to patient advocacy, the council also strives to engage and support the LGBTQ community with educational workshops, community forums and local LGBTQ events.
“The healthcare facilities that participate in HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index are making clear that they stand on the side of fairness and are committed to providing inclusive care to their LGBTQ patients,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Going beyond inclusive non-discrimination policies, these healthcare facilities are adopting best practices in the areas of LGBTQ patient care and support, employee policies and benefits, and LGBTQ patient and community engagement. We commend all of the HEI participants for their commitment to providing inclusive care for all.”
The 12th edition of the HEI assesses participants on four criteria: Non-Discrimination and Staff Training, Patient Services and Support, Employee Benefits and Policies, and Patient and Community Engagement.
In the 2019 report, 406 facilities, including both Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center and Twin Cities Community Hospital, earned HRC’s “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader” designation, receiving the maximum score in each section and earning an overall score of 100. Another 148 facilities earned the “Top Performer” designation for scoring 80 to 95 points. With 81 percent of participating facilities scoring 80 points or more, healthcare facilities are demonstrating concretely that they are going beyond the basics when it comes to adopting policies and practices in LGBTQ care.
The progress reflected in the 2019 HEI includes:
- Over half of HEI participants now have written gender transition guidelines;
- 75 percent of hospitals surveyed offer trans-inclusive benefits – an eight percentage point increase over last year, and numbers that bring them on par with their corporate counterparts, as measured by HRC’s 2019 CEI;
- A 35 percent increase in training hours recorded – clocking in at more than 94,000 hours of LGBTQ care training provided;
- A 60 percent increase in the number of HEI participants whose electronic health records capture a patient’s sexual orientation, and a 40 percent increase in the number of HEI participants whose electronic health records capture a patient’s gender identity.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is education arm of America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
About Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center
As the largest hospital in San Luis Obispo County, Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center strives to produce optimal outcomes and exceptional patient experiences to the community it serves. With 164 beds, Sierra Vista puts advanced technology into the hands of experienced medical specialists to deliver quality healthcare. High-level services include neurosurgery, orthopedics, obstetrics, perinatology (high-risk pregnancy), neonatology (high-risk newborn care), pediatrics, cancer care and trauma. Sierra Vista houses the largest Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit between Santa Barbara and Salinas, the only dedicated pediatric unit in San Luis Obispo County and serves as the county’s designated trauma center. Sierra Vista is fully accredited by The Joint Commission and has been serving the community since 1959.
About Twin Cities Community Hospital
Twin Cities Community Hospital, a 122-bed acute care hospital, has been caring for the communities of Northern San Luis Obispo County since 1977. With a medical staff of more than 200 physicians and 400 caregivers and support staff, the hospital specializes in emergency care, obstetrics, orthopedics and a broad array of medical, surgical and outpatient services. Twin Cities Community Hospital earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® with distinction for its knee replacement program. In addition, the hospital is recognized as a Blue Distinction Center+ for Knee and Hip Replacement Surgery. Baby-Friendly USA designated Twin Cities Community Hospital as an internationally recognized Baby-Friendly birth facility. The hospital also reports one of the lowest Cesarean section rates in the State of California.
Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center and Twin Cities Community Hospital will strive to be the premier provider of healthcare services on the Central Coast. As such, we recognize that we must, but also want to provide care that is culturally competent and patient/family-centered to all people. A significant portion of the population we serve identifies as LGBTQ. The care we deliver to all must be provided with respect and dignity in order for patients and families to feel safe and comfortable making our facility their choice hospital provider. We must also provide every employee and medical staff member with a safe and equitable working environment, so that internally we demonstrate and promote the inclusiveness that we desire to reflect externally. Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center and Twin Cities Community Hospital are actively improving our ability to provide excellent, patient-centered care to everyone in our community.