Prizm News / August 16, 2019 / By Ken Schneck

New HRC President Alphonso David at Equitas Health in Columbus, Ohio.
Photo by Staley Munroe

HRC President comes to Columbus to honor inclusive healthcare providers

In an effort to promote the most equitable and inclusive care for LGBTQ+ patients and their families, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has released their annual Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) and selected Equitas Health as the host site for the launch of this critical information. In a public event held on Friday, August 16 at the Equitas Health office in Columbus, HRC President Alphonso David delivered remarks highlighting the importance of health care facilities having policies and practices dedicated to supporting the experience of the LGBTQ+ community. 

“The Healthcare Equality Index saves lives,” says David. “If we have healthcare institutions and facilities that see us for who we are, they will provide us with the care that we need.”

The release of the 2019 HEI comes as the comment period closed this week on a regulation proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that would strip away explicit health care protections on the basis of gender identity, effectively targeting transgender and gender non-conforming people’s access to critical care. Under the Obama administration, these landmark protections were added under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, the first time sex was covered as a protected characteristic in health care.

“The Trump administration is looking to effectively remove us from the law,” says David. “They’re looking to strip away protections that LGBTQ people have. The healthcare equality index is one of the tools that we are using to push back.”

David’s visit to Columbus and Equitas Health, the parent company of Prizm, heralds his first official act as the head of the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights group. Equitas Health was selected as the launch site due to its recent recognition as an “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader” in this 12th edition of the HEI. For the fourth year in a row, Equitas Health has achieved a maximum score in the HEI, making the organization one of only a select group of healthcare facilities nationwide to attain this gold standard in the categories of Nondiscrimination and Staff Training, Patient Services and Support, Employee Benefits and Policies, and Patient and Community Engagement. 

Columbus City Council President Shannon G. Hardin poses with HRC President Alphonso David at Equitas Health in Columbus, Ohio.
Photo by Staley Munroe

“With the recent plans for expansion of our mission in Cincinnati to include specialized LGBTQ+ medical care in new markets, this recognition means even more to us this year. We are dedicated to addressing LGBTQ health equality and we are grateful to community partners like the Human Rights Campaign who recognize our efforts to offer a welcoming, inclusive healthcare home for all,” states Bill Hardy, President and CEO of Equitas Health.

Equitas Health CEO Bill Hardy with Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Williams Roberts
Photo by Staley Munroe

See the gallery below for images from the HEI release event.

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More information on the 2019 Healthcare Equality Index can be found at https://www.hrc.org/HEI