The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has released its 12th annual Healthcare Equality Index, which scores healthcare facilities across the nation on more than 50 policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees.

According to the author of the report, Tari Hanneman, the index reviews “baseline policies like a patient non-discrimination policy, making sure that is LGBTQ inclusive, including both sexual orientation and gender identity — same thing for an employment policy.”

“We also look at visitation policies, making sure they are implementing the requirement to allow patients to have the visitors of their choices, so that people’s partners are not turned away," Hanneman said.

So how did the Garden State rate?

“New Jersey had 29 health care facilities that participated in the HEI, and of those, 25 scored our top score, which is 1000."

She said New Jersey is in the top 10 states both for "number of participants and number of leaders.”

California and New York had the highest number of participants and top scores.

Hanneman said the index also reviews what kinds of services and training are being provided to hospital staff on LGBTQ care, if there are welcoming and inclusive marketing materials and signage to let patients know they are welcome. It questions hospitals on “things about how they’re engaging with their patient population in their local community — you know, are they supporting the local pride event, that sort of thing," Hanneman said.

Health care facilities in New Jersey that earned top scores include:

  • AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City
  • Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville
  • Ocean Medical Center in Brick
  • VA New Jersey Health Care System in East Orange
  • Hackensack University Medical Center
  • Hackettstown Medical Center
  • Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel
  • Jersey City Medical Center
  • Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston
  • Monmouth Medical Center's Long Branch Campus
  • Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin
  • Goryeb Children's Hospital in Morristown
  • Morristown Medical Center
  • Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick
  • Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
  • Newton Medical Center
  • Bergen New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus
    Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy
  • University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro
  • Chilton Medical Center in Pompton Plains
  • Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank
  • Valley Hospital in Ridgewood
  • Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Somerset
  • Overlook Medical Center in Summit
  • Community Medical Center Toms River

Reproductive Medicine Associates of NJ got a score of 70. JFK Medical Center got a score of 85. Jersey Shore University Medical Center got a score of 85. University Hospital got a score of 95.

The Healthcare Equality Index shows nationally more than half of participants now have written gender transition guidelines. Seventy-five percent of hospitals surveyed offer trans-inclusive benefits. There was a 35% increase in training hours recorded, a 60% increase in the number of  participants whose electronic health records capture a patient's sexual orientation, and a 40% increase in the number of HEI participants whose electronic health records capture a patient's gender identity.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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