Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Earns LGBTQ Health Care Equality Top Performer Designation in Annual Healthcare Equality Index

September 15, 2020

For the third year in a row, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has received high honors from the national Human Rights Campaign (HRC), in recognition of the efforts being made by the institution and its health care workers to ensure all LGBTQ patients and their families receive inclusive care.

Wake Forest Baptist is among 193 hospitals designated as top performers in the HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index. This year a record 793 health care facilities took part in the annual survey that assesses each facility based on their equity and inclusion practices and policies for LGBTQ patients and their families. The HEI is a benchmarking tool that can help both patients and their families decide which facility best meets their needs.

Here is the progress that participating health care facilities made as reported by the HRC in the 2020 report:

  • 92% of participants met the HEI's training requirements, completing more than 150,000 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. 
  • 53% of HEI participants indicated that their facility has a policy or policies that specifically outline procedures and practices aimed at eliminating bias and insensitivity, and ensuring appropriate, welcoming interactions with transgender patients.
  • After many years of trailing their corporate counterparts in the provision of transgender-inclusive health care benefits for employees, HEI participating healthcare facilities are nearly on par with the HRC Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) participants as 80% have at least one health care plan that offered this benefit. The latest CEI noted 85% of participants having such benefits.

    Human Rights Campaign

“I am proud of each and every one of our employees for the care and compassion they show to our patients and their families every day,” said Julie Ann Freischlag, M.D., CEO of Wake Forest Baptist Health and dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine. “This designation takes on special meaning during the pandemic, when everyone - from patient and family to health care employee - is facing this daily challenge. We want to be the safe, inclusive and healing health care choice for all. We are very pleased to receive this very important designation.”

Besides evaluating the participating facilities, the HRC Foundation also researched policies at more than 1,000 non-participating hospitals. According to the Foundation, the adoption rate at the non-participating hospitals is much lower than at participating hospitals. Of the policies found or obtained, only 67% have policies that include both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” and only 63% have an LGBTQ-inclusive employment non-discrimination policy. The equal visitation policy, at 93%, is the only one that comes close to matching the rate of the participating facilities.

The Human Rights Campaign has been providing the Health care Equality Index for 13 years.

Media contacts:

Eryn Johnson, eryjohns@wakehealth.edu, 336-905-1442