HEI Scoring Criteria

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Scoring Criteria Overview

The Healthcare Equality Index uses a scoring criteria that was announced in 2015 and first implemented during the 2016 calendar year survey. Since it began, the HEI has successfully encouraged hospitals and other healthcare facilities across the nation to adopt LGBTQ+ inclusive patient, visitation and employment policies. Over time and due to a decade of advancement in LGBTQ+ inclusion in daily life, healthcare facilities have worked harder than ever to increase their work to provide equitable care for the LGBTQ+ community -- and now the HEI survey reflects and promotes these efforts through its scoring criteria.

Facilities receive points for meeting specific requirements and by having a certain number of best practices and policies in place.

Tiers of Recognition

The Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), a project of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, promotes LGBTQ+ inclusive policies and affirming practices in healthcare facilities and formally recognizes those facilities that lead the field in LGBTQ+ inclusion. HRC recognizes there are many steps on the journey toward full LGBTQ+ inclusion and the HEI provides tools and resources to help healthcare facilities implement policies and affirming practices. Participating healthcare facilities are recognized in one of three Tiers of Recognition on this journey. This recognition enhances a healthcare facility's efforts to establish a track record of LGBTQ+ inclusion and aids in building and maintaining meaningful relationships with LGBTQ+ communities in their area.

1. Non-Discrimination & Staff Training

Up to 40 points

The Non-Discrimination and Staff Training criteria represents policies and practices that are considered foundational to LGBTQ+ patient-centered care. This criterion encompasses what was previously considered the “Core Four Leader Criteria.” All questions in this section are scored and must be met in order to attain any tier of designation.

Criteria 2 - Patient Services & Support

Up to 30 points

The LGBTQ Patient Services section is designed to familiarize an organization with the best practices from The Joint Commission and other sources to enhance care to LGBTQ+ patients.

Four subsections comprise this criteria: LGBTQ+ Patient Services and Support; Transgender Services and Support; Medical Decision Making; and Patient Identification and Data Collection. These criteria subsections are divided into two scoring sections for Criteria 2.

Scoring Section One consists of the first three subsections which are scored together for a maximum value of 20 points. Scoring Section Two is the last subsection, Patient Identification and Data Collection which is scored separately for a maximum value of 10 points. These two scores are combined for a maximum total of 30 points for Criteria 2.

Criteria 3 - Employee Benefits & Policies

Up to 20 points

This criteria focuses on the employee as much as the patient in providing inclusive care. These questions don’t only cover health insurance benefits, but also address employee resources groups, LGBTQ+ inclusive hiring efforts, transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits, employee transition support, and much more.

It is divided into two scored subsections. The first subsection consists of 15 scored questions and like the other criterion sections, you can either receive full or partial credit depending upon how many initiatives you have in place. The second subsection is related to the provision of transgender healthcare benefits for your employees and is worth 5 points.

Criteria 4 - Patient & Community Engagement

Up to 10 points

The Patient & Community Engagement criteria focuses on community outreach and promotion to let the LGBTQ+ community know you are a welcoming and affirming facility, working toward LGBTQ+ inclusion.

There are 12 scored questions in this section. In order to receive the full 10 points, your facility must have at least 6 of these best practices in place. Facilities with 3 to 5 of these best practices in place will receive a partial score of 5 for this criteria.

Criteria 5 - Responsible Citizenship

-25 points

This section focuses on known activity that would undermine LGBTQ+ equality or patient care. Healthcare facilities will have 25 points deducted from their score for a large-scale official or public anti-LGBTQ+ blemish on their recent records.