Ridges Hospital is one of only four facilities in Minnesota – and one of fewer than 500 nationwide – to earn the distinction, which recognizes the hospital for receiving a perfect score of 100 on the HEI.
The HEI report was developed to promote equitable, sensitive, and inclusive care for LGBTQ patients and their families by evaluating and benchmarking healthcare facilities' policies and practices, according to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
“People use our services at their most vulnerable moments, when they need help, care, and compassion,” said Jeoff Will, the M Health Fairview chief operating officer of acute care hospitals. “This designation shows that we have taken steps to address healthcare disparities for our LGBTQIA families. When people come to us for care, I want them to be able to focus on their health and healing. The last thing I want anyone to worry about is whether they are being seen or treated differently.”
“Our goal is to create a warm, welcoming environment that supports our LGBTQIA staff members, patients, and the community,” said Steve Robbins, the M Health Fairview technical operations center manager and leader of the Pride Alliance Group for Equality, an employee resource group that supports LGBTQIA staff members within M Health Fairview.
“I came out as a gay male more than 20 years ago, and I remember how difficult it was to find a doctor who was open to discussing the health concerns and questions I had,” Robbins said. “The question we’re asking at M Health Fairview is, how can we make every patient feel comfortable getting the care they need while creating an environment of dignity and respect?”
The HEI evaluates hospitals on dozens of measures in four categories, including:
Ridges Hospital has implemented a wide range of LGBTQ-inclusive policies and procedures, including robust staff training, equal visitation policies, inclusive patient and employee nondiscrimination policies, and inclusive employee benefits.
“Ridges Hospital’s participation in 2020 HRC’s Health Equality Index was a pilot project and I believe we can roll it out system-wide in the future,” said Myat Tun, the M Health Fairview equity and inclusion program manager. “We strive for continuous learning and always want to continue improving our LGBTQIA patient care.”