Originally posted on PROMOonline.org
By: Andrew Shaughnessy, Manager of Public Policy
2014 had proven to be a monumental year for LGBT Missourians. Those monumental steps have been the recognition of out-of-state marriages by the State of Missouri, and the leadership of nearly 19 Missouri hospitals, who have been designated as “Leaders of LGBT Healthcare” by the Human Rights Campaign’s 2014 Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) for having welcoming policies inclusive of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
To qualify as “Leaders of LGBT Healthcare” hospitals had to identify key policy updates that included patient and employee nondiscrimination protections inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity; visitation policy that explicitly grants LGBT families and families of choice access to their loved ones, and trainings for staff around LGBT patient-centered care. Some key findings of the report that make Missouri stand out are as follows:
- Missouri is 6th in the nation and 1st in the Midwest as hospital leaders in LGBT Healthcare.
- Of those identified, SSM Healthcare became the second Catholic non-for-profit health network to identify as leaders in LGBT health care (in the nation) and the first health network in the region to do so.
“As a faith-based health care provider, we respect the dignity and promote the well-being of all those who seek care – regardless of who they are, where they come from, or what they believe in,” said Michael Panicola, Ph.D., Senior Vice President – mission, legal and government affairs for SSM Health Care. “We do it because it’s a requirement of our faith and the gospel message of love. We do it because our mission is to reveal God’s healing and reconciling presence. And we do it because it is a matter of justice and equity.”
Missouri health advocates worked closely with several of these hospitals, providing technical assistance and LGBT patient centered training. Missouri leaders in LGBT health care are from all over the state. The HEI leaders are SSM DePaul Health Center in Bridgeton, VA Harry S. Truman Memorial in Columbia, SSM St. Clare Health Center in Fenton, St. Mary’s Health Center in Jefferson City, Children’s Mercy in Kansas City, Research Medical Center in Kansas City, St. Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, St. Luke’s North Hospital In Kansas City, SSM St. Joseph Hospital West, Saint Luke’s East Hospital in Lee’s Summit, St. Francis Hospital and Health Services in Maryville, Audrain Medical Center in Mexico, VA John J. Pershing Medical Center in Poplar Bluff, SSM St. Joseph Health Center in St. Charles, Barnes Jewish in St. Louis, SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, SSM St. Mary’s Health Center in St. Louis, and VA St. Louis Health System.
“Giving LGBT patients the opportunity to access health care free from discrimination has been a major concern for us,” says Andrew Shaughnessy, Manager of Public Policy. “In a unique state like Missouri, where basic discrimination protections are not afforded to LGBT Missourians, it is imperative that our health and social service organizations include LGBT welcoming policies. As an LGBT Missourian it certainly gives me relief to know that I can access health care facilities and be who I am free from discrimination.”
The full HEI report can be found here: http://www.hrc.org/hei
Also, a full list of LGBT inclusive hospitals in Missouri can be found here: http://actioncenter.promoonline.org/lgbt-inclusive-hospitals/