For the fifth consecutive year, Christiana Hospital and Wilmington Hospital have both been recognized as a Leader in LGBT Healthcare by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization.
The honor is given to institutions that meet LGBT-inclusive benchmarks that are part of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), the HRC Foundation’s survey that encourages equal care for LGBT individuals by evaluating inclusive policies and practices related to LGBT patients, visitors and employees.
“It’s also a recognition that we embrace and nurture diversity and inclusion for our patients, their loved ones and the people who work at Christiana Care Health System,” said Bettina Tweardy Riveros, chief health equity officer at Christiana Care.
The honor reflects multiple initiatives to provide high-quality care for LGBT patients, noted Rev. Timothy D. Rodden, MDiv, MA, BCC, FACHE, director, Pastoral Services.
“HEI provides a tool around which to organize and prioritize best practices as a hospital, including equal visitation rights, cultural competency education and inclusive employment activities,” Rodden said. “That also helps to enhance our focus on population health.”
Christiana Hospital and Wilmington Hospital were the first health care facilities in Delaware to earn HEI recognition. Due, in part, to Christiana Care’s partnership with the United Way of Delaware PRIDE Council’s LGBTQ Health Equity Task Force, all nine hospitals in the state committed to the program; eight of those facilities were able to complete the process and receive Leader designation, four of them for the first time.
“The goal is to improve health equality for all the people of Delaware, no matter where they receive care,” said Rodden, co-chair of the task force.
Christiana Care is a pioneer in its commitment to health equality. Initiatives include the development of LGBT-specific trainings for providers, as well as collaborative efforts with local LGBT advocacy groups.
The health system’s newly formed LGBT Patient-Family Advisory Group includes people from the community, as well as interested employees. It is chaired by Rev. Rodden and Ann-Marie Baker, MSN, RN-BC, senior program manager, Patient Experience.
“We want to make sure we hear from gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people what their experience has been and how we can make that better,” he said.