Nuvance Earns LGBTQ+ Healthcare Designation

DANBURY, CT – Nuvance Health recently earned the “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality High Performer” designation from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation.

The recognition was awarded in the 16th iteration of the HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) this May. The HEI is a national LGBTQ+ benchmarking tool that evaluates healthcare facilities’ policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees.

Of the record 1,065 healthcare facilities that participated, only 462 received the designation. This is Nuvance Health’s first and includes all seven hospitals — Danbury Hospital and its New Milford campus, Norwalk Hospital and Sharon Hospital in Connecticut; Northern Dutchess Hospital, Putnam Hospital and Vassar Brothers Medical Center in New York — as High Performers.

“Earning the LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality High Performer designation from the HRC Foundation is a significant accolade that highlights our commitment to providing inclusive and equitable care for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) individuals,” said Holly Robinson, associate general counsel for Nuvance Health. Robinson leads the LGBTQIA+ and Allies Employee Resource Group at Nuvance Health. “Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard to continuously improve our inclusive and welcoming culture.”

The HEI evaluates and scores healthcare facilities on detailed criteria in the following areas:
* Foundational policies and training that advance LGBTQ+ patient-centered care
* Expertise in LGBTQ+ patient services and support
* Employee benefits and policies
* Patient and community engagement

Nuvance Health is dedicated to being a leader in healthcare for the LGBTQIA+ community, providing myriad services, including primary and specialty care, gender-affirming therapy, sexual health and disease prevention and behavioral and mental health.

“As anti-LGBTQ+ extremists look to strip away healthcare access at every turn, LGBTQ+ people and their loved ones are looking for healthcare providers to offer and champion fully inclusive services. The Healthcare Equality Index is helping people find facilities where welcoming policies and practices are the standard,” said Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “We know that LGBTQ+ people — especially our trans family — continue to face discrimination in the doctor’s office. No one should have to put their health on the backburner for fear of mistreatment in a healthcare facility or by their doctor.”

Key highlights from across the nation include:
* Targeted Health Disparities Reduction Plans: Encouragingly, 71% have an official plan for reducing health disparities that specifically includes LGBTQ+ patients in addition to race, ethnicity and linguistic concerns.
* Work to Be Done: Only 27% have an externally promoted specific program to provide patient navigation or advocacy services to transgender patients.
* Bias Elimination and Welcoming Interactions: Just over half (53%) have a policy or policies that specifically outline procedures and practices aimed at eliminating bias and insensitivity and ensuring appropriate, welcoming interactions with transgender patients.
* EHR SOGI Data: Major increases are seen in the number of healthcare facilities collecting sexual orientation and gender identity-related data in Electronic Health Records systems. Seven of the eight relevant data points had double-digit increases.
* Pronouns in Electronic Health Records: The ability to collect and display a patient’s pronouns rose from 44% to 74%. This is an important tool to help prevent misgendering a patient.
* Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)-Equivalent Benefits: 38% offer FMLA-equivalent benefits that allow employees to take family and medical leave to care for same-sex partners as well as the children of a same-sex partner, regardless of biological or adoptive status — this is up from 34% in 2022.
* Comprehensive Benefits for Domestic Partners: 41% provide medical and comprehensive health benefits to domestic partners of benefits-eligible employees, up from 34% in 2022. This is the first increase in this measure since the 2015 Obergefell decision on same-sex marriage.
* Employee Resource Groups: 72% have an officially recognized LGBTQ+ employee resource group.
* Community Engagement and Support: 92% took part in or supported one or more LGBTQ+ related events or initiatives in their service area.

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