Mayo Clinic’s Minnesota campus has been recognized as a 2018 LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader, registering a top score of 100 from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, a civil rights organization, on its 2018 Healthcare Equality Index. The index evaluates health care facilities’ “policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of their [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer] patients, visitors and employees.” Mayo is one of four health care providers in Minnesota designated as leaders and one of 418 nationally.
“This is exciting and a great achievement. It reflects the dedication of our colleagues who play vital roles in fostering change throughout Mayo Clinic and the continued support of Mayo’s leadership,” says Sharonne Hayes, M.D., a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, who is Medical Director of Mayo's Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
About the Healthcare Equality Index
The Healthcare Equality Index scores health care providers on these criteria:
- Nondiscrimination and staff training, including patient nondiscrimination, equal visitation, employment nondiscrimination, and staff training.
- Patient services and support, including LGBTQ patient services and support, transgender patient services and support, patient self-identification, and medical decision-making.
- Employee benefits and policies.
- Patient and community engagement.
- Responsible citizenship.
In 2016, higher standards were set to maintain a score. This is reflected in the 2017 index. Organizations that do not make progress on key areas can see their scores decline. On the fifth criterion above, organizations can lose 25 points for “known activity that would undermine LGBTQ equality or patient care.”
The Healthcare Equality Index is primarily intended for inpatient facilities that provide general medical and surgical care. However, specialty hospitals and certain outpatient health care facilities may request to participate in the Healthcare Equality Index. Typically, a facility or organization must have at least 100 staff members to be eligible to participate.
Make Progress to Maintain a Higher Score
To maintain higher scores, organizations must take demonstrable steps to show they are making progress in areas where there are gaps. Because of these new criteria, which are more challenging each year, the scores for Mayo Clinic’s Arizona and Florida campuses declined. Each site scored 75, with the Arizona and Florida campuses declining from 90 and 85, respectively, in 2017. These changes reflect consistency in policies and procedures rather than regression.
“The metrics are incremental, and organizations must show quality improvement each year,” says James Luckey, J.D., Contract Portfolio Manager, who was part of the work group that completed the survey and is Chair of the LGBTI Mayo Employee Resource Group in Rochester. “Without improvement, your score will go down.”
Mayo Employee Resource Groups are employee-organized groups that form around a common dimension of diversity.
Plan to Maintain, Increase Scores across Mayo Clinic
To increase the scores for Mayo Clinic's Arizona and Florida campuses, and maintain the 100 on the Minnesota campus, Mayo Clinic, with the help of the LGBTI Mayo Employee Resource Groups in Arizona, Florida, and Minnesota, created these focus areas:
- Create and launch an external website that covers LGBTQ policies, procedures, practices, information and services.
- Boost recruitment efforts for prospective patients and staff through collaborations with groups that serve LGBTQ populations.
- Standardize policies, including language used across sites.
- Engage with patients to improve satisfaction.
“With the Human Rights Campaign Foundation continuing to push, though, we cannot be complacent and plateau,” says Dr. Hayes. “They have challenged us to keep pushing forward toward equitable and inclusive patient care. This is important to ensuring that Mayo and all its employees are living its values, including the primary value of meeting the needs of all of our patients.”