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The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is recognizing nine Geisinger hospitals for their equality and inclusion efforts surrounding the LGBTQ community. Eight hospitals received the rank of “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader,” and one earned a “Top Performer” title in this year’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) report.

Scores and rankings are assigned to medical facilities based on responses to a survey about LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices, including non-discrimination and staff training, patient services and support, employee benefits and policies, and patient and community engagement.

This year, a record 680 health care facilities participated in the HEI evaluations. Eighty-one percent of those scored 80 points or more, showing that health care facilities are actively trying to go beyond the basics when it comes to adopting policies and practices in working with LGBTQ patients and employees.

Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital, Geisinger Community Medical Center, Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital, Geisinger Lewistown Hospital, Geisinger Medical Center, Geisinger Shamokin Area Community Hospital and Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center each earned Leader designations, meaning that each facility scored 100, the highest possible score, on their evaluations.

Geisinger Marworth Treatment Center received the Top Performer designation, meaning that it scored in the 85-95 point range on the evaluation.

“Each and every day Geisinger strives to provide an inclusive environment for our Geisinger family and for anyone choosing us for their health care,” said Brion Lieberman, Geisinger vice president, human resources. “We are proud to provide culturally sensitive care to our patients and a supportive environment for our employees. Earning these top scores validates our efforts to create meaningful impact in support of diversity and inclusion at Geisinger.”

“We’re dedicated to making health care easier for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Arthur Breese, director of Geisinger’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “We have developed and implemented tools in our electronic health record to guide our providers in making our patients more comfortable and to provide culturally competent care. We will continue our efforts to maintain high equality scores by continuing to support our patients and employees.”

Geisinger’s electronic health records now include recording a patient’s preferred name, sexual orientation (if disclosed), preferred pronoun, gender identity, sex observed at birth, and family-inclusive values. There is also an employee resource group called G-PRIDE (Geisinger – People Ready for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equality) which offers support to LGBTQ employees that also works to foster an understanding of LGBTQ issues.

Over half of HEI survey participants now have written gender transition guidelines, and 75% of surveyed hospitals offer trans-inclusive benefits, an eight percent increase over last year. The number of facilities whose electronic health records capture a patient’s gender identity has increased by 40% since last year’s evaluation.