Keeping Families Together
The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog
June 22, 2012
When Looking At The Big Picture, Don’t Forget About The Smaller One
By BELINDA AND JOHN DRONKERS-LAURETA
Commercial organizations look at ways to measure their health and progress. They look at profits, of course, but they also look at other indicators: how many patents do they have, how much of their profit comes from new products, how many ideas do their employees contribute? There is a host of these. Similarly, for our work we try to look at macro indicators, for example, laws passed or judicial findings in our favor, but we also try to find and examine other, more subtle indicators to see how far we have come and how far we still need to go. We found both in a Human Rights Campaign publication.
The Healthcare Equality Index of 2012
The Human Rights Campaign released their “Healthcare Equality Index 2012.” HRC has published this index annually since 2007
to meet a deep and urgent need on the part of [LGBT] Americans: the need for equitable, knowledgeable, sensitive and welcoming healthcare, free from discrimination based on LGBT status.
The Health Equality Index is used by healthcare facilities to measure their own LGBT-centered care provisions and remedy any gaps between the index and their own practices.
The Macro Indicators
Using macro measurements, the 2012 survey was a success. They rated a record 122 facilities and 71 were designated as Leaders. A facility becomes a Leader by meeting four foundational criteria known as the “Core Four:” 1) patient non-discrimination policies; 2) visitation policies; 3) employment non-discrimination policies; and, 4) training in LGBT patient-centered care. Cumulatively, there are now 407 health care facilities that have been rated and 234 of these proved their leadership in LGBT patient healthcare. Across the board correlative criteria showed that healthcare providers are increasingly aware of the special sensitivities of LGBT patients.
The Micro Indicators
The survey asks and answers the question of its utility. The Healthcare Equality Index exists to prevent bad experiences from happening to LGBT patients. It provides examples. A transgender woman related that
When I walked towards the women’s bathroom in the waiting area, the receptionist jumped up and told me to use a McDonald’s restroom down the street. I felt like leaving and never going back.
A bisexual man kissing his recovering partner caused a nurse to walk out of the room. A recovering gay man mentions to the staff that his husband will be coming to visit and a previously friendly staff turned cool.
Education And Training Will Close The Gap
The survey shows that despite a remarkable level of increased awareness of special LGBT needs at the institutional level, at a level closer to the patient lots of catching up still needs to be done. The survey also shows that transgender people are treated with far more disrespect than gays or lesbians.
The difference between macro and micro indicators shows much work remains at the personal level. That work usually means changing people’s minds which in turn calls for education and training and telling stories.
Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride www.apifamilypride.org