July 11, 2013 -- For the third year in a row, the Multnomah County Health Department has been recognized as a “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” in the Healthcare Equality Index 2013.
The annual survey is conducted by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organization.
In a report released Thursday, July 11, Multnomah County’s eight primary care clinics earned top marks for their commitment to equitable, inclusive care. Historically, LGBT clients and their families nationwide have faced significant challenges in securing adequate health care.
“I am proud that our commitment to our LGBT clients and community has been recognized in this way,” said Lillian Shirley, Health Department director.
“For more than a decade, we’ve been committed to inclusive and equitable policies and care,’’ Shirley said. “Our excellence comes from staying true to our public health values of equity, inclusion and evidence-based work.”
The Health Department was a founding member of the National Coalition for LGBT Healthhttp://lgbthealth.webolutionary.com/, a leading organization focused on eliminating disparities in health care.
Multnomah County was one of only three sites in Oregon including Oregon Health & Science University and the Portland VA Medical Center to be named a leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality. Nationwide, there were 464 facilities awarded this title after meeting key criteria for equitable care. That care includes having non-discrimination policies for LGBT patients and employees, a guarantee of equal visitation for same-sex partners and parents, and LGBT health education for key staff members.
This award further reflects Multnomah County’s organizational commitment to LGBT health and well-being. In June 2013,Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen signed an executive rule creating gender-neutral buildings in new county buildings, in order to reduce barriers faced by transgender employees and visitors.
“Multnomah County has a key role in ensuring equity in our community,’’ Cogen said. “This award demonstrates that in our health clinics, we are working hard everyday to achieve that commitment.”
Multnomah County was congratulated by HRC Health & Aging Director Shane Snowdon, who released the list of leaders on July 11.
“LGBT patients deeply appreciate the welcoming environment provided by a leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality,” Snowdon said. “It makes a big difference to know that your local healthcare facility is fully committed to giving you the same care it gives your neighbors and co-workers.”
For more information about the Healthcare Equality Index 2013, or to download a free copy of the report, visit the Human Rights Campaign Foundation websitehttp://www.hrc.org/hei#.Ud7mgjscdgw.