West County Health Centers Get High Marks | Community

West County Health Centers received a rating of 85 out of 100 and the designation of “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Top Performer” in the 15th anniversary edition of the Health Care Equality Index (HEI) of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the nation’s largest benchmark survey of health facilities. on policies and practices dedicated to the fair treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees. A record 906 healthcare facilities actively participated in the 2022 HEI survey and 251 of them earned the LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Top Performer designation. West County Health Centers is the only federally licensed health center in Sonoma County and the Bay Area to receive this designation.

This award aligns with West County Health Center’s value of providing equitable, non-judgmental care to members of our diverse community.

“Since 2016, West County Health Centers have had a particular focus on developing and expanding access to gender-affirming health care for all ages in the primary care medical home. Our Expanded Gender Services program addresses the fundamental human right of transgender and gender-extended people in Sonoma County to access comprehensive, quality, and culturally appropriate health care. Providing access to quality, multidisciplinary, gender-affirming care is consistent with West County’s mission to reduce barriers to health care and improve health disparities.

I remain committed to continuing to grow and expand our services.

– Dr. Brooke Vezino, Program Medical Director, Extended Service Gender Program.

“Everyone deserves to have access to quality health care, to be respected and heard by their doctor and to feel safe in the establishment where they are treated. But LGBTQ+ people often face discrimination in all spaces, including healthcare settings, leading community members to avoid care and anticipate that our voices will not be respected in an incredibly vulnerable environment. , said Tari Hanneman, director of health and aging at The Human Rights Campaign. “The Health Care Equality Index, at its core, works to ensure that LGBTQ+ people are protected and affirmed by their health care providers and feel safe when seeking services. Our active HEI participants are truly pioneers in the health sector implementing robust and comprehensive LGBTQ+ inclusive policies that hopefully, through their work, will become standard practice.

The HEI evaluates and rates healthcare facilities according to detailed criteria falling under four central pillars:

● Core policies and training in LGBTQ+ patient-centered care;

● Services and support for LGBTQ+ patients;

● Employee benefits and policies; and,

● Patient and community engagement.

In the 2022 report, an impressive 496 facilities earned the HRC’s “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation, receiving the top score in each section and earning an overall score of 100. A further 251 facilities earned the “Top Performer” designation. with marks between 80 and 95 points and at least partial credit in each section. With 82% of participating facilities scoring 80 points or more, healthcare facilities are demonstrating that they go above and beyond the basics when it comes to adopting LGBTQ+ care policies and practices.

The remarkable progress reflected in the HEI 2022 includes:

● 93% of participants have met HEI training requirements, completing over 200,000 hours of staff training on LGBTQ+ patient-centered care.

● 82% of participating establishments obtained the title of leader or best performer.

● 99% of HEI participants documented that they included both ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ in their patient non-discrimination policy.

● 99% of HEI participants indicated that they include both ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ in their non-discrimination employment policy.

● 81% of HEI participants offer transgender-inclusive health benefits to their employees, up from 75% in 2019, which was the first year that Leader status was required.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest civil rights organization working for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to bring about transformational change in the daily lives of LGBTQ+ people, bringing to light inequalities and deepening public understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, with a clear focus on promoting transgender and racial justice. His work has transformed the landscape for over 15 million workers, 11 million students, 1 million clients in the adoption and foster care system and more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, promoting the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through scholarship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, he forges partnerships with advocates in the United States and around the world to increase our impact and shape the future of our work.

Maria J. Book