UK HealthCare, Eastern State recognized as LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leaders


UK HealthCare and Eastern State Hospital, a state-owned facility managed by UK HealthCare, have been recognized as “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leaders” by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation in its 2022 Healthcare Equality Index (HEI). The HEI is the benchmark survey of U.S. health care facilities on policies and practices dedicated to equitable treatment and inclusion of LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees. Both UK HealthCare and Eastern State earned top scores of 100.

“We are dedicated to providing exceptional, accessible care to all Kentuckians,” said Dr. Mark F. Newman, executive vice president for health affairs at UK HealthCare. “Our performance in the Healthcare Equality Index affirms our commitment to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for our patients, visitors and our teams at UK HealthCare and Eastern State Hospital.”  

A record 906 facilities actively participated in the 15th edition of the HEI in 2022.

 “The Healthcare Equality Index is another indicator of our ongoing commitment to a healthier Kentucky,” said Tukea Talbert, UK HealthCare’s chief diversity officer. “As we continue to improve health equity, we ensure that all patients from all backgrounds receive high-quality, safe and equitable care.” 

The HEI evaluates and scores health care facilities on detailed criteria within four central pillars:

  • Foundational policies and training in LGBTQ+ patient-centered care
  • LGBTQ+ patient services and support
  • Employee benefits and policies
  • Patient and community engagement

In the 2022 report, 496 facilities earned the HRC’s “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation, earning the maximum score in each section and an overall score of 100. Another 251 facilities earned “Top Performer” designation with scores between 80 and 95 points and at least partial credit in each section.

Progress reflected in the 2022 HEI includes:

  • 93% of participants met the HEI’s training requirements, completing more than 200,000 hours of staff training in LGBTQ+ patient-centered care.
  • 99% of HEI participants documented that they include both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in their patient non-discrimination policy.
  • 99% of HEI participants documented that they include both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in their employment nondiscrimination policy.
  • 81% of HEI participants offer transgender-inclusive health care benefits to their employees, up from 75% in 2019, the first year this it was required to obtain Leader status.

UK HealthCare implemented several new initiatives in the past year, including:

  • Launch of an LGBTQ+ patient and family advisory team
  • Launch of the systemwide SAFE Pledge campaign, where participants can affirm their commitment to the ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion and their commitment to sharing a safe space with colleagues through tangible action.
  • Access to self-learning educational LGBTQ+ modules across the entire system.

“Every person deserves to have access to quality health care, be respected and heard by their doctor, and feel safe in the facility where they are receiving care,” 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 health care providers and feel safe seeking services.”

This content was produced by UK HealthCare Brand Strategy.

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