The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, has named Christiana Care among the Leaders in Healthcare Equality and listed the organization in the Healthcare Equality Index 2014, which was released Oct. 15. It marks Christiana Care’s third appearance in the annual index as a Leader.
Christiana Care was among a select group of 426 organizations across the country to earn the designation, which honors facilities meeting key criteria, including patient and employee non-discrimination policies that specifically mention sexual orientation and gender identity, a guarantee of equal visitation for same-sex partners and parents, and LGBT health education for key staff members.
“We are extremely proud to earn this distinction again, and this recognition demonstrates our commitment to foster an inclusive culture for our patients and colleagues,” said Rosa Colon-Kolacko, Ph.D., MBA, senior vice president and executive director, Christiana Care Learning Institute, and chief diversity officer.
“The LGBT community looks to the index to see where they would be comfortable getting care, and we want that community to know we are committed to their health as well,” said Tim Rodden, director of Pastoral Services and a member of the Christiana Care Learning Institute’s Diversity and Inclusion Council.
Rodden cited the recent example of a transgender patient who required gynecological services. Worried about how area hospitals would react to such gender identity issues, the patient consulted the 2013 Healthcare Equality Index, saw Christiana Care listed there and chose to trust in Christiana Care personnel for non-discriminatory care.
Rodden said Christiana Care exceeds the index’s criteria. Rather than simply applying education tools provided by HRC, for example, Christiana Care has developed an extensive in-house cultural competency training program that is presented to a wide range of personnel, allowing for what he called “some genuine conversation about what this portion of our patient population experiences.”
“The use of LGBTQ patients in a variety of case scenarios allows us to reinforce our organizational commitment to being respectful, expert, caring partners in health for the neighbors we serve, who represent our diverse communities,” he told HRC. “This reinforces The Christiana Care Way: creating innovative, effective, affordable systems of care that our neighbors value.”
Rodden and several colleagues also represent Christiana Care in a number of statewide initiatives, including work with other Delaware hospital systems in an effort to make Delaware the first state in the country to have all of its hospitals listed in the Healthcare Equality Index.