Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas
“LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader” Designation
The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) Health Care Equality Index, earning the “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader” designation. The HRC Foundation is education arm of America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people.
The designation was awarded in the 12th edition of HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI). A record 680 health care facilities actively participated in the HEI 2019 survey, with HRC Foundation proactively researching key policies at 1000 additional non-participating hospitals. Of those included in the HEI, MEDVAMC was one of 406 who earned a “LGBTQ health care Equality Leader” designation.
“MEDVAMC aspires to provide LGBT Veterans with state-of-the-art patient centered services in an inclusive and welcoming environment,” said Dr. Hiram Rivera-Mercado, LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator. “Receiving the Leadership status from HEI means we are continually progressing toward giving our LGBT Veteran population what they look for in healthcare institutions.”
The 12th edition of the HEI assesses participants on four criteria: Non-Discrimination and Staff Training, Patient Services and Support, Employee Benefits and Policies, and Patient and Community Engagement.
“It is more important than ever that health care institutions stand with the LGBTQ community,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “The health care facilities that participate in HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index are making clear that they stand on the side of fairness and are committed to providing inclusive care to their LGBTQ patients. Going beyond inclusive non-discrimination policies, these health care facilities are adopting best practices in the areas of LGBTQ patient care and support, employee policies and benefits, and LGBTQ patient and community engagement. We commend all of the HEI participants for their commitment to providing inclusive care for all.”
"We are so proud to have this designation," said Elizabeth Steen, LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator. "We strive to be leaders in LGBT healthcare, and as the only hospital in the Texas Medical Center to receive the HEI Leadership designation, we feel honored to be recognized."
For more information about LGBT services at the MEDVAMC, visit https://www.houston.va.gov/services/LGBT_Program.asp. For more information about the VA LGBT Program, visit https://www.patientcare.va.gov/LGBT/.