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PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Medical Center has received an evaluation of 95 out of 100, and Fairview Hospital 85 out of 100 and the designation of “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Top Performer” in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 15th anniversary edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey of healthcare facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable 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 those, including BMC and Fairview earned an “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Top Performer” designation.
“Every person deserves to have access to quality healthcare, be respected and heard by their doctor, and feel safe in the facility where they are receiving care. But LGBTQ+ people are often subject to discrimination in all spaces, including healthcare facilities, which leads to members of the community avoiding care and anticipating our voices will not be respected in an incredibly vulnerable environment,” said Tari Hanneman, Director of Health & Aging at The Human Rights Campaign.
“The Healthcare Equality Index, at its core, strives to ensure LGBTQ+ people are protected and affirmed by their healthcare providers and feel safe seeking services. Our HEI active participants are truly pioneering the healthcare industry by implementing robust, comprehensive LGBTQ+ inclusive policies that hopefully, because of their work, will become standard practice.”
“Berkshire Health Systems is on a journey to creating a welcoming, inclusive, and personalized healthcare environment for everyone in our community,” said Darlene Rodowicz, President and CEO of Berkshire Health Systems.
Rodowicz stated, “We are proud of the work we have done so far to ensure that our patients in the LGBTQ+ community have access to the most comprehensive healthcare services in the region, and we are committed to continuing our efforts to create a diverse and inclusive workforce that can serve the needs of our entire Berkshire community.”
The HEI evaluates and scores healthcare facilities on detailed criteria falling under four central pillars:
- Foundational Policies and Training in LGBTQ+ Patient-Centered Care;
- LGBTQ+ Patient Services and Support;
- Employee Benefits and Policies; and,
- Patient and Community Engagement.
In the 2022 report, an impressive 496 facilities earned HRC’s “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation, receiving the maximum score in each section and earning an overall score of 100. Another 251 facilities earned the “Top Performer” designation with scores between 80 to 95 points and at least partial credit in each section. With 82% of participating facilities scoring 80 points or more, health care facilities are demonstrating concretely that they are going beyond the basics when it comes to adopting policies and practices in LGBTQ+ care.