April 04, 2022
Kansas City, Kan. — The University of Kansas Health System has again been recognized as an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC). The designation was awarded in the 15th anniversary edition of HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), released Sunday, March 27.
"It doesn't mean we're perfect – it means we've done an awful lot of work to become better," says Gigi Siers, RN, assistant director – professional engagement at the health system. "We're really switching our focus to recognize intersectionality and that not everyone fits in one box. Whether it's physical disability, faith tradition, race or gender. So we're expanding our scope to supporting other groups, recognizing that that helps the LGBTQ+ community as well."
This is the 5th year that the health system has been awarded this designation, receiving a maximum score of 100 points. The HEI evaluates healthcare facilities based on 5 criteria that concern LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices:
- Nondiscrimination and staff training
- Patient services and support
- Employee benefits and policies
- Patient and community engagement
- Responsible citizenship
A record 906 healthcare facilities actively participated in the HEI 2022 survey. Of those included in the HEI, 496 earned an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader designation.
“In the last year, members of the LGBTQ+ community in the United States have endured an onslaught of political attacks, many of which have specifically targeted LGBTQ+ healthcare,” said Joni Madison, interim president of the HRC. “The discriminatory healthcare legislation we have endured, coupled with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the medical field, have made it difficult for LGBTQ+ people to know what the future of our healthcare will look like. This is why it is truly heartening to know that the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) has seen record participation this year.
“More facilities than ever have joined the HEI to make it clear that they stand on the side of fairness and are committed to providing inclusive care to their LGBTQ+ patients. I am truly grateful to all of the HEI participants for their commitment to providing inclusive care for all.”
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) is the 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.