Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Earns Perfect Score in Healthcare Equality Index

May 22, 2024

Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has achieved the highest possible designation on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s recently released 2024 Healthcare Equality Index. Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center was named an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader and received a perfect score, while 44 other Advocate Health hospitals across Illinois, North Carolina and Wisconsin received the LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality High Performer designation.

In addition, five Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist hospitals – Levine Children’s Brenner Children’s Hospital, Davie Medical Center, High Point Medical Center, Lexington Medical Center and Wilkes Medical Center – achieved Builder status, which designates facilities with inclusive patient, visitation and employment policies and staff trained in LGBTQ+ patient-centered care.

“Receiving this recognition affirms our support and commitment to fostering trust and belonging with the LGBTQ+ community,” said Dr. David Zaas, president of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist. “Our policies and benefits are inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community and our internal resource groups and Safe Zone in Medicine trainings offer safe places for people to deepen their understanding, which is critical to delivering on our mission of health, hope and healing for all.”

In its 16th edition, the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) is the national LGBTQ+ benchmarking tool that evaluates health care facilities' policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees. The HEI 2024 evaluates nearly 2,400 health care facilities nationwide. 

“Creating a space for all patients to feel seen and supported is core to who we are at Advocate Health and key to our goal of driving better, more equitable health outcomes,” said Kinneil Coltman, executive vice president and chief community and social impact officer for Advocate Health, of which Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist is part. “We are pleased to receive this recognition, as it indicates our hospitals are leading the way in creating safe, affirming experiences for the LGBTQ+ community and all patients we are privileged to serve.”

The HEI evaluates and scores health care facilities on detailed criteria under 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

LGBTQ+ adults are twice as likely to experience unfair treatment or disrespect by a doctor or health care provider compared to non-LGBTQ+ adults, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. This designation reaffirms Advocate Health’s commitment to equality across its six-state service area, including the Greater Charlotte region and Winston-Salem in North Carolina, as well as the Midwest.  

“LGBTQ+ people and their loved ones are looking for health care providers to offer and champion fully inclusive services,” said Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “The Healthcare Equality Index is helping people find facilities where welcoming policies and practices are the standard.”

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