Grace Cottage earns top score in LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Index

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Vermont Business Magazine In conjunction with Pride Month, Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital is pleased to announce that, once again, it has earned the highest score in Vermont in the 2024 Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Healthcare Equality Index (HEI).

Grace Cottage, along with UVM Medical Center in Burlington and the VA Medical Center in White River Junction, tied for the top score among Vermont hospitals in the HEI Index. Nationwide, 462 healthcare facilities earned this “High Performer” designation. 

The HRC Foundation’s HEI is the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey of healthcare facilities, scoring them based on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors, and employees. 

The HEI evaluates and scores healthcare facilities on detailed criteria including the use of preferred pronouns and other sexual orientation and gender identification (SOGI) data in medical records, medical and workforce benefits for same-sex and domestic partners, and teamwork to reduce disparities and support the LGBTQ+ community.

“We are dedicated to providing compassionate, high-quality care that is free from discrimination and affirming of gender identity and sexual orientation,” said Doug DiVello, President and CEO of Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital. “We are very honored to have received ‘High Performer’ designation, which affirms that our employees are committed to providing inclusive care for all staff and for the patients that we serve.”  

“As anti-LGBTQ+ extremists look to strip away healthcare access at every turn, LGBTQ+ people and their loved ones are looking for healthcare providers to offer and champion fully inclusive services,” said Kelley Robinson, President of the HRC. “The Healthcare Equality Index is helping people find facilities where welcoming policies and practices are the standard. We know that LGBTQ+ people – especially our trans families – continue to face discrimination in the doctor’s office. No one should have to put their health on the backburner for fear of mistreatment in a healthcare facility or by their doctor.” 

2024 marks the 16th anniversary of the HEI campaign. This year’s HEI comes as LGBTQ+ adults are twice as likely as non-LGBTQ+ adults to be “treated unfairly or with disrespect by a doctor or healthcare provider” in the last three years, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The impact of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation combined with a history of discrimination in healthcare settings has the potential to cause even more LGBTQ+ people to delay or avoid seeking healthcare, which makes the HEI even more important for those seeking care.

Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital is an independent, non-profit healthcare center in Townshend, VT. The facility includes a 19-bed Critical Access Hospital offering skilled rehabilitation, acute, palliative, and 24/7 emergency care. It also has full-service laboratory; a diagnostic imaging suite; a Rural Health Clinic providing primary and mental health care, free social services, and wellness counseling; an outpatient rehabilitation department offering physical and occupational therapy; and a full-service retail pharmacy.

The HRC Foundation is the educational arm of the HRC, America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to make transformational change in the everyday lives of LGBTQ+ people, shedding light on inequity and deepening the public’s understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, with a clear focus on advancing transgender and racial justice.

Source: Townshend, VT—Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital 

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