A.O. Fox Hospital, part of Bassett Healthcare Network, has been recognized nationally by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) for its dedication to the equitable treatment and inclusion of LGBTQ patients, visitors, and employees. HRC released its 12th annual Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) on Aug. 16, which scores health care facilities on their policies and practices related to LGBTQ-inclusive health care. Fox Hospital is among the 406 organizations nationwide that received HRC’s coveted “Leader in LGBTQ Health Care Equality” designation.

“It is more important than ever that health care institutions stand with the LGBTQ community,” says HRC president Alphonso David. “The health care facilities that participate in HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index are making clear that they stand on the side of fairness and are committed to providing inclusive care to their LGBTQ patients. Going beyond inclusive non-discrimination policies, these health care facilities are adopting best practices in the areas of LGBTQ patient care and support, employee policies and benefits, and LGBTQ patient and community engagement. We commend all of the HEI participants for their commitment to providing inclusive care for all.”

The 12th edition of the HEI assesses participants on four criteria: non-discrimination and staff training, patient services and support, employee benefits and policies, and patient and community engagement. The remarkable progress reflected in the 2019 HEI includes:

· More than half of HEI facilities now have written gender transition guidelines

· 75 percent of hospitals surveyed offer trans-inclusive benefits – an impressive eight percentage point increase over last year

· A 35 percent increase in training hours recorded – clocking in at over 94,000 hours of LGBTQ care training provided to clinical professionals

· A 60 percent increase in the number of HEI organizations whose electronic health records capture a patient’s sexual orientation, and a 40 percent increase in the number of HEI facilities whose electronic health records note a patient’s gender identity

“A.O. Fox Hospital is proud to provide excellence in care, inclusive to all,” says Jeff Joyner, president of A.O. Fox Hospital. “Our designation as a Leader in LGBTQ Health Care Equality is an honor that is harmonious with the compassionate care we strive to offer all patients, visitors, and employees every day. Fox is also proud to offer comprehensive health services for transgender individuals at The Gender Wellness Center (GWC), located at Susquehanna Family Practice at FoxCare Center.”

The GWC is a nationally-recognized, rural-based interdisciplinary center that offers medical, mental health, and surgical care to transgender individuals of all religions, ages, sexual orientations, and ethnicities; they also offer advocacy, research, and training. The geographic areas served include the counties of Onondaga, Madison, Cayuga, Oswego, Oneida, Herkimer, Otsego, Delaware, Cortland, Chenango, Tompkins, Chemung, Tioga, and Broome, among others.

“The staff and clinicians of the GWC are grateful to A.O. Fox Hospital and the greater Bassett Healthcare Network for their incredible support of this work,” says Carolyn Wolf-Gould, MD, medical director, The Gender Wellness Center and Susquehanna Family Practice at FoxCare Center. “The network consistently works to address health care disparities across our region, including developing policies and procedures to advance health equity for LGBTQ patients and employees. We are proud to be part of this effort and to work for an organization that supports health equity and inclusion for all.”

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