HEI Scoring Criteria

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Scoring Criteria Overview

The Healthcare Equality Index uses a scoring criteria that was announced in 2015 and 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.

Before the HEI 2017, a facility would earn the designation of "Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality" by meeting all of the HEI Core Four Leader Criteria. Under the new scoring system, a facility needs to receive a score of 100 points to be designated as a "LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader." 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 formally 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 criteria 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 Leader status.

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.

There are 26 best practices that are scored questions in this criteria. In order to receive full credit (30 points) for this criteria, a facility must have implemented 11 or more of the best practices. A facility may receive partial credit (15 points) for this criteria if it has implemented 6 to 10 of the best practices.

The 26 scored questions in this criteria come from the following sections:

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 13 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.

In order to receive full credit (10 points) for this section, a facility must have implemented 4 or more of the best practices. A facility may receive partial credit (5 points) for this criteria if it has implemented 2 to 3 of the best practices.

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.